When is the best time to shell pecans, when they first fall or let them season some?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Louis in Kentucky: Growing pecans in the home garden is a great way to provide your family and friends with a delicious snack. Pecans are loaded with vitamins and minerals; they are also a great source of fiber and heart-healthy fat. A happy, older tree will produce a nice crop of pecans that can be harvested in the fall after the hull or shuck has cracked open. This is a sign that the pecan has matured and is ready for harvest. Harvest only when mature and allow to dry for a couple weeks if you intend on storing them. A covered porch or any space that is not in direct light but allows for good air circulation is ideal for the drying process. Decreasing the moisture content will reduce potential mold issues. Both the shell and the nut will contain moisture when harvested so removing the shell will speed up the drying process. The younger the nut, the more moisture content it is going to have and this is important in terms of harvesting and storing. If your goal is to store them this can be done in or out of shell but just make sure they are allowed to dry before storing. Pecans should be stored in airtight containers so the nuts will not absorb surrounding odors. Pecans can be stored at room temperature as well as in the refrigerator or freezer. So, it is up to you if you want to shell them immediately to reduce the drying time or to leave them in the shell for storing purposes.