Whether you have a large orchard or just one or more pecan trees in your yard, you can evaluate the quality of your pecans by performing a yield test.
Another reason to run yield tests is to find out what kind of insects are causing problems. If you know what to look for, you may find signs of these pests during your evaluation.
If you have several pecan trees, you may choose a few pecans from each tree to use in your test sample. This could help you estimate the percentage of edible pecans in your crop.
We use a gram scale for our yield tests, but you could use a regular kitchen scale.
Follow these steps:
- First collect a sample of pecans from under a tree. We use about 50 nuts for our yield tests. This should be a random sample of pecans that are uniform in appearance. Don’t choose any that are already cracked.
- Record the weight of your sample of inshell pecans. Be sure to subtract the weight of the container you use in order to get an accurate weight of the pecans.
- Carefully shell the pecans. Be sure to get every scrap of edible meat out of the shell.
- Remove any pecan kernels that are undesirable. For example, look for pecans that are shriveled and wafer-like, show signs of embryo rot, or have black spots from stink bugs.
- Record the weight edible meats, minus the weight of the container.
- Calculate the percentage of edible meats by dividing the weight of the edible meats by the weight of the inshell nuts and multiply that by 100.
Very high quality nuts should be close to 60% edible meat. Average pecans are around 45% to 50%. Poor quality nuts will test less than 40%.
Native pecans and thick-shelled nuts will test at a lower percentage simply because of their thick shells.
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Join us for our next free event, Pecan Q&A: Preparing for Harvest, on August 25.