By Felicia Farnsworth

Monday, July 12, 2021, is National Pecan Pie Day. Did you know that pecans are a species of hickory and are native to the south in the United States and Northern Mexico?

Pecans were a wild forage widely consumed by the Native Americans prior to the European settlement. Pecans grew along areas watered by the Mississippi River, spreading well into East Alabama. After the Civil War, new varieties of pecans were brought into Georgia and grown commercially.

Georgia is now the leading commercial grower of pecans in the U.S. In the 1800s, Louisiana became prevalent with grafted pecan trees.

The French word pacane is the Algonquin word for “nut,” giving the pecan its name. Pecans are 4% water, 72% fat, 9% protein, and 14% carbohydrates. Pecans are a moderate source of vitamin B and Iron.

They also provide a rich source of total fat, protein, dietary fiber, manganese, magnesium, phosphate, zinc, and thiamin. Pecans are so popular in Alabama that in 1982 it became the state nut. Pecan pies didn’t make it into popular cookbooks until the 1940s.

However, it was featured in the Lady’s Home Journal in 1897. By the 1930s and 40s, Karo Syrup was very popular and helped make the pecan pie a well-known and desired dessert. As an alternative to Karo syrup, some bakers have been known to use brown sugar and molasses, bourbon, rum, or whiskey.

While baking, the pecans rise to the top, and the combination of butter, sugar, corn syrup and eggs create the gooey custard filling underneath. You can observe National Pecan Pie Day by making your family’s favorite pecan pie recipe. Bullock County has its very own pecan store, Adams Pecans.

They have six varieties of pecan delights to choose from, including pecan halves, pecan pieces, roasted and salted pecans, pralines, and two different kinds of chocolate-covered pecans. Adams Pecans also has a $10 cookbook with many different recipes from several Bullock County residents.

You can also enjoy a pecan pie bought from one of the local grocers in town, Union Springs AG, or Piggly Wiggly. On most weekends, Wiley’s Smuteye Grill has a fresh homemade pecan pie sold by the slice or as a whole. However, you decide to observe the day, be sure to shop locally, but enjoy a slice of pecan pie.

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