User avatar
Grey
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1596
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2005 12:42 am
Location: Summerville, GA, Zone 7a

Pecan Tree

I've never had a pecan tree before - but I have a tall one in my backyard that is now dropping green-covered pecans.

You may laugh at my question. It will be funny to anyone who already knows the answer.

I figure I should collect them before the squirrels do, but what do I do with them? Do I let them sit in a bucket, should the "skins" turn brown, do I peel that off or what DO I do to make them edible? Do I roast them?

Just Sign Me-
Pecan Clueless in Georgia!

:lol:

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

I'd best leave this to a more southron member of the cast. Any help for Grey here?

HG

grandpasrose
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1651
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2005 4:21 pm
Location: Quesnel, BC, Canada - Zone 4a

Well, Grey, I'm just as clueless as you, but I did copy over a couple of excerpts off the net for you. Hopefully someone who has more personal experience can give you the hints and drawbacks! :wink:
VAL
..........................................................................................................
Harvesting Pecans

Pecans are usually harvested from mid-October through November when the shuck loosens from the shell or splits. The trees in commercial production are harvested with trunk or limb shakers that literally shake the nuts off the tree to be collected by various means.

Homeowners usually use a long cane pole to whap the nuts down or find some 10-year-old kids willing to spend an entire afternoon throwing baseball gloves or old sneakers up into the tree to knock nuts down. That's how my mother got hickory nuts for cakes and cookies many years ago. Wait to pick up the nuts that fall to the ground naturally, and you're competing with the wiley squirrel-and may well lose.

Squirrels can be a real barrier to successful back yard pecan growing. It has been estimated that a single squirrel can consume about 50 pounds of pecans in a single season-the total production of two trees. Nuts can be stored in their shells for about four months at room temperature before becoming rancid. They'll last up to nine months in the refrigerator and a year or two when stored in the freezer.
........................................................................................................
Harvesting Pecans:
Pecans are mature and ready to harvest anytime after the shuck begins to split and open.

Storing Pecans:
We prefer to store pecans in airtight heavy-duty plastic freezer bags with a zipper-type closure. Pecans can be stored in jars or plastic cartons that can be made airtight. Label with the month and year of purchase.
Pecans should be stored in the refrigerator for six (6) to nine (9) months or preferably in the freezer for up to two (2) years. Pecans can be thawed and refrozen and not lose their quality. Also, frozen pecans need not be thawed to be used in recipes. If pecans appear shriveled or smell too strongly, discard them.
.......................................................................................................

"Sweetening" Pecans:
Pecans have two sources of bitterness -- naturally occurring tannins in the kernel and pieces of corky material from the inside of the nut which can adhere to the kernel.. Washing can eliminate this bitterness.
To "sweeten" pecan meats, place the kernels in a bowl and fill with lukewarm water. Stir and tumble the meats in the water for several minutes; the water will be discolored. Pour off the water and repeat the process at least once more. Spread the pecans on paper towels and allow them to dry for 15 minutes or so.
......................................................................................................
Harvesting & Storage

Harvesting pecans occurs from mid October through November, and occasionally into December. For home harvesting, gathering falling nuts can be an option, but you usually have to fight the squirrels, who are master nut gatherers. Small harvests can be achieved by tapping limbs with a padded stick to help with nut drop, or commercially tree shakers are used. Mechanical shakers are fascinating to watch. Once secured on the trunk of the tree, they are turned on and the tree shakes rapidly, causing the nuts to drop like pelting rain. Standing nearby, even the soil vibrates. Then the nuts are gathered, removed from their outer husks and sorted. Pecan nuts lose quality very quickly on the ground, especially during wet weather, so it is important to harvest soon after shaking. Fresh pecans need to be air dried for two to three weeks before storing.

Pecans will oxidize or turn rancid more rapidly in light and out of their shell, so nuts will store longer when they are in their shell. If you don’t intend to use them right away, you may want to buy unshelled nuts. They are best stored in a cool, dry, protected location. If you plan to store them for more than a month, you might consider freezing them. For the highest quality product it is recommended that they not be stored for more than one year in the freezer, but they have been known to do fine for several years.

User avatar
Grey
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1596
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2005 12:42 am
Location: Summerville, GA, Zone 7a

Thanks Val! :)
Funny about the squirrels - today I went out to check out the fallen pecans and I swear this squirrel was deliberately throwing pieces of pecan at me. Guess I won't get a chance at getting those pecans, he's already munching on them...

opabinia51
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Darn squirrel ate every single walnut off my Aunts tree this year before they even had a chance to ripen. I'm all for ecological gardening but, darn that squirrel!!!!! :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil:

grandpasrose
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1651
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2005 4:21 pm
Location: Quesnel, BC, Canada - Zone 4a

Not a problem Grey! I guess the early bird gets the worm!! :lol:
VAL
VAL (Grandpa's Rose)

User avatar
Grey
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1596
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2005 12:42 am
Location: Summerville, GA, Zone 7a

You mean the early squirrel gets the nuts. While they're still green! :lol:

I know they're cute, Opa... but the year they ate my entire patch of corn THREE TIMES, even after my husband created a wire cage to go around the corn, that was the end of my seeing them as cute! They liked the young sprouts and green stems. They wouldn't let it grow beyond a foot if you didn't keep a dog out there, then just ate enough to kill that one plant. :evil:

grandpasrose
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1651
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2005 4:21 pm
Location: Quesnel, BC, Canada - Zone 4a

We battle the squirrels too, not for anything we grow, but for where they choose to live. We have a humongous fir tree beside our house that the squirrels spend every fall standing at the top and pelting the house with the cones from. Then they carry them off to this years hiding spot. And it is never the same place - so it it like a treasure hunt!
Last year, we discovered that they had moved into one of our storage sheds that we don't go into much (cause it really is storage!) and they had absolutely turned everything upside down!
This year, they have tried to move into the attic over my back porch, but I think we have been successful in blocking that off.
We love having them, and they are really fun to watch and play with, but they can be a bother too! :wink:
VAL
VAL (Grandpa's Rose)

opabinia51
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Especially when they eat your (what was supposed to be) nut source for the year. Oh well, that's nature for you. Just have to go with the flow.

ladynight13
Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 12:10 pm
Location: Nebo, NC

I have never had nut trees before either, so I found the article very informative but here is a dumb question......do the pecans turn brown before they start to pop open? I just found out how to harvest my chestnuts, and my walnut tree has nothing on it so that leaves the pecans. Just wondering about the color. I am finding brown ones on the ground also, are they no good anymore?
thanks

Return to “Trees, Shrubs, and Hedges”