As a food source, pecans are a natural choice for preagricultural society. They can provide two to five times more calories per unit weight than wild game, and require no preparation. As a wild forage, the fruit of the previous growing season is commonly still edible when found on the ground. Hollow tree trunks, found in abundance in pecan stands, offer ideal storage of pecans by humans and squirrels alike.
Pecans first became known to Europeans in the 16th century. The first Europeans to come into contact with pecans were Spanish explorers in what is now Mexico, Texas, and Louisiana. The genus Carya does not exist in the Old World. Because of their familiarity with the genus Juglans, these early explorers referred to the nuts as Nogales and Nueces, the Spanish terms for "walnut trees" and "fruit of the walnut." They noted the particularly thin shell and acorn-like shape of the fruit, indicating they were indeed referring to pecans The Spaniards brought the pecan into Europe, Asia, and Africa beginning in the 16th century. In 1792, William Bartram reported in his botanical book, Travels, a nut tree, Juglans exalata that some botanists today argue was the American pecan tree, but others argue was hickory, Carya ovata. Pecan trees are native to the United States, and writing about the pecan tree goes back to the nation's founders. Thomas Jefferson planted pecan trees, Carya illinoinensis (Illinois nuts), in his nut orchard at his home, Monticello, in Virginia. George Washington reported in his journal that Thomas Jefferson gave him "Illinois nuts", pecans, which George Washington then grew at Mount Vernon, his Virginia home.
The pecan cupcakes are perfect any time of the year.
Copyright 2012, Christine’s Pantry. All rights reserved.
1 (10 oz.) box yellow cake mix
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup pecans, chopped
2 cups confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven 350 degrees. In a bowl, add cake mix, water, vegetable oil, eggs and chopped pecans, mix well. Line regular muffin cups with paper cupcake liners. Fill the cups half full with batter. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or when toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean. When cool enough, about 5 minutes, remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack. Making sure cupcakes are completely cool before frosting.
Combine confectioners sugar, water and vanilla extract. Frost cupcakes. Garnish with pecans. Enjoy!