Tip Sheet for Harvesting Natural Pecans
Pecans are ready to harvest when they begin to drop from the trees, usually around the time when the tree begins losing its leaves for the winter. Mature pecans have green husks which have turned brown and crack open. That’s how you know they are ready.
To harvest pecans properly, be ready for them before they start falling from the trees. This typically occurs sometime between the months of October and December (depending on where you live), although the weather and other environmental conditions may impact the exact dates for the harvest in your area. But the harvest begins before the nuts begin falling from the trees.
Preparing for the Pecan Harvest
About a month before the harvest it is important to mow and clear the area surrounding each of the trees to make sure that you can see the pecans when they fall from the trees. It is a good idea to clear an area of up to 15 feet beyond the tree canopy itself so you can see the nuts that may be blown by the wind or be flung away from the tree during the harvest.
Once the pecans begin to drop, gather them quickly because damp weather can cause them to get stale and rancid, not to mention that the local wildlife, such as squirrels and crows, love pecans as much as people do. Don’t wait and harvest them later. So, it is important to pick up the pecans that fall to the ground immediately.
At Stahmann’s, we help this process along by using special farm equipment that uses a hydraulic arm to shake the trees, bringing the ripe pecans cascading down and ready to be collected. Speed the process at home by shaking the branches of the tree or using a long pole to knock them down and gather them.
Inspecting and Drying the Pecans
Once the pecans have been collected, inspect them carefully for damage due to worm infestations or other pests. Separate the bad pecans from the good ones and store them in a place that will allow them to air dry for anywhere from a week to two weeks while still in their shells. One of the best ways to do this is to spread them out on a plastic sheet in a dry area without a lot of light. Also consider using a fan to circulate air around the pecans to help speed up the drying process.
This drying process, also known as curing, increases the quality and improves the overall flavor of fresh pecans. Any kind of dampness can increase the level of fatty acids in the pecans and may make them rancid or stale.
At Stahmanns, we have a processing facility that automatically sorts the pecans into similar sizes and cleans them and cures them before storing them, still in the shell, in our climate-controlled warehouses.
Testing and Storing Fresh Pecans
After the pecans have been cured, test them out by removing a few from the shell and break the nut in half. If the pecan breaks easily, then the nuts are cured and ready to use or store. Then shell the pecans and store them in air-tight containers that can be kept in a refrigerator for up to six months or in a freezer for up to two years. If keeping them longer, store them in the shell in a cool dry place for up to a year or freeze them in the shell to keep them fresh longer than two years.
About Stahmanns Pecans
As a leader in this industry, Stahmanns’ utilizes innovative processing and harvesting techniques that ensure the quality of all the bulk pecans they produce. They focus their efforts on two different varieties of nuts. The Western Schley and Bradley varieties they produce are both Kosher-certified. Additionally, the shelling plant in operation is certified as a SQF Level-3 operation. The investment this company makes in their facilities ensures there is no presence of contamination while all the standards outlined by the company are maintained.
Stahmanns can be reached via the online forms present on their website at http://www.StahmannPecan.com.
We supply kosher pecans for commercial and industrial markets. For more information about our bulk pecans by the case, call us at 844-739-6887 or contact us using our simple online form.