Maquassi Spruit Pecan Nuts

Maquassi Spruit Pecan Nuts Logo

In August 2005 Maquassi Spruit Pecan Nuts planted its first 200 nut trees with another 2000 trees the following year and 2300 additional trees the year thereafter. August 2010 saw 5500 trees take root.

General Manager, Piet Botma with a handful of pecan nuts of Maquassi Spruit Pecan Nuts (Makwassispruit Enterprises) near Wolmaransstad.

Why We Farm pecan nuts

Year-on-year, the South African pecan nut industry is growing. Two years ago, SA ‘crops’ yielded roughly 13000 tons. It is anticipated that, for 2019, this yield or ‘harvest’ is expected to grow to 19000 tons. New pecan nut nurseries are continuously being cultivated. However, pecan nut trees take up to 5 years to yield any nuts. Therefore the market will only experience growth in several years yet to come.

Interesting Facts

The name “pecan” is a Native American word that was used to describe nuts requiring a stone to crack.

The name “pecan” is a Native American word that was used to describe nuts requiring a stone to crack.

Pecan trees may live and bear edible nuts for more than 300 years.

Pecan trees produce nuts on alternate bearing years – one year heavy, one year light. It takes 12 years for a pecan tree to mature.

The pecan pie was created by French people who had settled in New Orleans.

Some have stated that the French invented pecan pie soon after settling in New Orleans, after being introduced to the pecan nut by the Native American Quinipissa and Tangipahoa tribes.

Seen Here, pistillate flowers before and after pollination.

“Pollination in the pecan orchard is critical to both the yield and quality of nuts. Pecan trees are cross-pollinated (allogamous) and although self-pollination is possible, the result is largely unsuccessful. Pecan trees are wind-pollinated; therefore, pollinators (i.e., bees) are not required to complete pollination. Cross-pollinated pecans are usually larger and higher quality than self-pollinated pecans. Self-pollination can reduce nut quality and greatly reduce crop yield by as much as 75 percent. Pecan trees are monoecious, which means both the male and female flowers are on the same tree. Female flowers (pistillate) are located at the end of the current season growth, and the male flowers (catkin) are located at the end of last season’s growth. Catkins are easy to spot as they dangle from the tree during the early spring. A single catkin can produce as many as 2.64 million pollen grains. Only one pollen grain is required to produce one pecan. One catkin can produce enough pollen to pollinate flowers to produce 50,000 pounds of average-sized pecans. An average bearing tree is likely to produce several thousand catkins, thus further emphasizing how much pollen could be produced.”

(Source: Noble Research Institute — http://www.noble.org)

At Maquassi Spruit Pecan Nuts, our pecan-cultivars (varieties) comprise: Western—It is the most commonly planted cultivar in the U.S.A. and has originated from the cross between a seedling and the variety Texas. Nuts are medium sized, thin shelled and having good kernel quality. It is a prolific bearer and suitable for high density planting. Wichita—It is a hybrid between Halbert X Mohan. It is very popular cultivar being one of the most precocious and prolific of all cultivars. The nuts are of medium size, attractive appearance, high quality and have high kernel percentage. For effective pollination, the cultivar should be grown with Western or Cheyenne.

(Source: pecannut.co.za/cultivar)

Harvesting Pecan Nuts

A short video showing Maquassi Spruit harvesting their pecan nuts

Exporting Pecan Nuts

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Old-Fashioned Pecan Pie

  • Yield

    Makes 8 Servings

  • Active Time

    35 Minutes

  • Total Time

    5h (includes making pastry and cooling pie)

Ingredients

  • Pastry Dough

  • 85g Butter

  • 1 1/4 cups Packed Light Brown Sugar

  • 3/4 cup Light Corn Syrup

  • 2tsp Pure Vanilla Extract

  • 1/2 tsp Grated Orange Zest

  • 1/4 tsp Salt

  • 3 Large Eggs

  • 2 cups Pecan Halves (250g)

  • Whipped Cream or Vanilla Ice Cream for Serving

    (Optional)

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 180°C with a baking sheet on middle rack.

  • Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 12-inch round and fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim edge, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold overhang under and lightly press against rim of pie plate, then crimp decoratively. Lightly prick bottom all over with a fork. Chill until firm, at least 30 minutes (or freeze 10 minutes).

  • Meanwhile, melt butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar, whisking until smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in corn syrup, vanilla, zest, and salt. Lightly beat eggs in a medium bowl, then whisk in corn syrup mixture.

  • Put pecans in pie shell and pour corn syrup mixture evenly over them. Bake on hot baking sheet until filling is set, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Cool completely.

  • Cook's Note

    Pie can be baked 1 day ahead and chilled. Bring to room temperature before serving