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How To Harvest Pecans




Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Pecans are typically harvested mid-October through November, and make a great addition to muffins, cookies, pies and other baked goods. Head outdoors, and take advantage of one of fall's best freebies.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: Depends on the size of the harvest

Here's How:

  1. Check for Ripeness.
    Pecans are ready for harvest when the hulls split open on the tree.

  2. Gather the Pecans.
    Once ready, you can harvest the pecans one of two ways: either collect them off the ground as they fall, or shake the tree to dislodge them.

  3. Inspect the quality.
    Look the pecans over, and discard any with worm holes or other signs of damage.

  4. Dry the nuts.
    Allow the nuts to air dry for two weeks.


  5. Test for dryness.
    Remove several nuts from the shell, and try to break them in half. If they break cleanly, the nuts are dry and ready for use.


  1. For maximum freshness, always store pecans in an air-tight container.
  2. Pecans will keep in the shell for several months. Store in a cool, dry place for best results.
  3. Shelled pecans can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 6 months and in the freezer for well over a year.

What You Need:

  • Buckets
  • A nut cracker
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