Alabama State Foods
The pecan is a nut from Carya illinoinensis, a tree native to the southern United States. It grows in thin, smooth, medium-brown, oval to oblong shells. Inside, the nuts are reddish brown, deeply grooved, and easily broken into two halves. Pecans have a sweet flavor that makes them a favorite in desserts, especially chocolates or in sweets with caramelized sugar such as pralines and pecan pie. Butter pecan ice cream is a favorite in pecan growing country, and pecans are also common additions to cookies and cakes, especially fruitcakes.
Native Americans in the area now known as Alabama used pecans as a wintertime staple when other foods were hard to come by. These nuts still grow all over the state, both wild and cultivated. Alabama also lays claim to being the birthplace of pecan pie. The Alabama Pecan Festival in Mobile is an annual fall event.