Pecans harvested early

sally2_gwSeptember 24, 2012

Hi, all.

I spend most of my time over at the cooking forum, but I've got a question better suited to this forum.

We had to trim some branches of our pecan tree off of our roof, and they were loaded with pecans starting to ripen, but most of them not quite ripe yet. We went ahead and picked those pecans anyway. We cracked one pecan that had the green part split away, and the pecan was very bitter and moist.

So, can anything be done to save these pecans for eating, or are they a lost cause? There are plenty more still on the tree, so it's not a total loss.


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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

In theory you can force ripen them after picking green by spreading them out in a single layer in a dry place, out of the sun, like a cool basement. Spread them out on cardboard or several layers of newspaper - something that lets the air circulate all around the nut. Not plastic. Window screens work well if you have them.

I say "in theory" because many of them will rot before they ripen. How many depends on how green (the moisture content) they were when picked. So it all depends on how much effort you want to put into saving them. If you have a good space give it a try and salvage what you can of them.

If you happen to have a dehumidifier you can set up to run near them so much the better.

In the past we have spread ours out on the wire tables in the greenhouse with good results but it is exceptionally dry in there and cool enough with the shade cloth on and the exhaust fans running.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 12:22PM
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jxbrown(z10/24 SD, CA)

The French make liqueur with green walnuts, green almonds, or peach pits.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 3:09PM
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Thanks for the advice. I don't have the set up or room to spread them out like you describe, so I decided to rescue the ones that were opening up already, and "spread" the closed tight green ones on the ground. I figure maybe I'll get some from that bunch, but at least the squirrels might enjoy them. There are plenty more pecans on the tree. It's looking like a good year for pecans.

Thanks again


    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 8:47PM
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I battle the squirrels every year for some pecans. I think I have about 4 of them. They can literally clean a tree in a week. What they do is pick the nuts, eat some, drop the rest after they have gnawed the green husk down to the shell. We have picked up a lot of the green nuts as they drop them only to find most of them are rotten or very undeveloped. My question is two fold- first can the squirrels tell by feel and not cracking the nut if it is good or not? 2nd--wonder why they don't wait until the husks turn brown on the tree, fall off, & get them at that time? Would like to foil these sharp toothed rascals & harvest the nuts myself.. Can't shoot them, we are in a residential area. .

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 10:22PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I can imagine that at this point the pecans are fully mature . All they need is curing/drying. I have done that few times to beat the squirrels haha
The good ones, as they are drying, their husk(?) will split or it will come off easily. Then you remove the husks and let they stay without the husk a week or two to fully dry. Otherwise they will be get black and rotted.

AND fresh/green ones do taste a bit strong and maybe bitter.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 11:19PM
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. We have a squirrel relocation project at our house. We put out two Hav-A-Heart traps with some peanuts for bait and take them to a nearby park (but across a highway, since they are known to find their way back). Squirrels are territorial, so it takes a little while before others move in. They love to take one bite out of our beautiful tomatoes and then drop them. Since we started doing this we have had little loss from our garden. Might be worth doing this until you harvest your nuts.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 8:52AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

We all know how squirrels are, don't we. But when it comes to NUTS, they will take away down to the last one that can find. I have observed to work from down to dusk at this time of nuts season. They are very hard workers. They would remove the unseparable husk of black walnuts before taking it away. That stuff is very bitter and staining. Once I had hidden a bucket full and they found it and took every single from from the bucket.

I like them creatures. They are cute but sometimes destructive.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 10:56AM
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