The Q&A Archives: Harvesting Pecans

Question: Please inform me how to know when the pecans are ready to be picked. Color? Time of year? Or what?

Answer: Pecans may be harvested once the shucks (the green segments that cover the nuts) split and begin to turn brown. Depending on the variety and your specific location this will likely be sometime from early through late October. If you handle them before the shucks are brown and dry, you may want to wear gloves. The tannins in the green pecan shuck will stain you hands (and clothing) brown. They should be allowed to dry for a week or two in a cool, dry indoor location. If you set up a fan to blow air over them, they will dry out even better.

They will retain their best quality if you shell them promptly and store them in an airtight container in the freezer. Exposure to warm temperatures and air speeds the process of the kernal darkening and turning rancid.

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