The history of pecans can be traced back to the 16th century. The pecan is considered one of the most valuable North American nut species. The name "pecan" is a Native American word of Algonquin origin that was used to describe "all nuts requiring a stone to crack.”  Pecans were favored because they were accessible to waterways, easier to shell than other North American nut species and of course, for their great taste. Pecan trees may live and bear edible nuts for more than three hundred years. The Spaniards brought the pecan into Europe, Asia, and Africa beginning in the 16th century.

The nuts of the Pecan are edible, with a rich, buttery flavor. They can be eaten fresh or used in cooking, particularly in sweet desserts but also in some savory dishes. Today, the U.S. produces 90% of the world's pecans, with an annual crop of 150–200 thousand tones. The nut harvest for growers is typically around mid-October. Outside the United States, pecans are grown in Australia, Brazil, China, Israel, Mexico, Peru and South Africa. Pecans are a good source of protein and unsaturated fats. The antioxidants found in pecans reduce high cholesterol by reducing the "bad" LDL cholesterol levels.