How Many Different Types of Pecans are There?

About once a week we receive a phone call or email asking us how many different types of pecans there are. In fact, I had such a conversation today with a new customer. We love to help educate people on the various options that are available. When you are a newbie to any industry it helps to have some clarity offered on basic terminologies. Asking about an overview of different types of pecans is a great question and one that is best explained with a combination of pictures and words. I’d like to take the time right now to help you out.

There are actually about sixteen different sizes that the pecan industry recognizes by name. While these are helpful and have their place for large shelling companies we are going to focus today on a broader overview. Before we go any further, though, I want to clarify that we will be looking at the pecan sizes for meats not inshell pecans. The sizing chart for inshell pecans is much different than pecan meats, so we will go over those another time.

Different types of pecans - Size chart from Pecan Halves to Pecan Meal
Different types of pecans – Size chart from Pecan Halves to Pecan Meal

Different Types of Pecans in Detail

In general, shelled pecans are divided into two categories: Pecan Halves and Pecan Pieces. Pecan Pieces are, in turn, subdivided into four subcategories. These subcategories are referred to as: Large Pecan Pieces, Medium Pecan Pieces, Small Pecan Pieces and Pecan Meal. I strongly argue, though, that Pecan Meal is in a size group of it’s own. But others disagree with that theory, so I will stick with the more proper classification.

As a side note, if you usually refer to Pecan Pieces as “chopped pecans” you are not alone. This is a common term by pecan consumers. While this given name is understood by most of us in the pecan industry, you will instead hear us refer to them most often as Pecan Pieces. And while we are on the subject I will go ahead and add that shelled pecans are actually pecans that have gone through the shelling process. While inshell pecans are pecans that are still inside the shell.

For those of you that are new to pecan terminology I hope this helps offer some clarity. I hope it helps you when deciding on what size you are looking at for your baking needs. And it should also help you to talk more effectively with our pecan representatives when you place your next order. As always, we will see you soon and happy baking!

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