As autumn ushers in its rich tapestry of colors and the air turns cooler, pecan trees offer a bountiful gift to the world. Pecans, those versatile and delectable nuts, are at their peak when the shucks, their protective outer shells, crack open, revealing the treasures within. Let's take a journey through the pecan harvesting process, from the moment the shucks open to the delightful dishes on your table.
The first signal that pecans are ready for harvest is the gentle splitting of their shucks. It's the first indication from the trees that tell us it is time to harvest. The process starts with the collection of pecans. We use a machine shaker that shakes the shucks, pecans, and leaves loose, where we then collect them. Early pecan growers in Texas didn’t have machinery to shake the trees, so they employed other methods including climbing the trees and jumping on the branches, or hitting the tree with sturdy bamboo.
After the pecans are collected, the next step is to sift through the harvest to remove any unwelcome companions, such as leaves, twigs, or soil. This can be a hands-on process, but we use specialized equipment designed to ease the separation, and seasonal staff to visually inspect every pecan we bring in from the orchard.
Drying is a crucial step in the pecan harvesting journey. The pecans should be carefully dried in a well-ventilated area, where they will shed excess moisture, which is vital for preventing mold and ensuring better storage quality. Our pecans go through a large commercial dryer. Our process applies no heat to the pecans to ensure the pecans are as fresh as possible, and their nutrients and flavor preserved. Once they’re dry, they immediately go into cold storage to arrest the oxidation that could potentially destroy the great flavor and quality you expect from farm fresh pecans.
When you shop online or visit our store, we replenish our stock from the pecans in our large freezer. We crack your pecans to order when requested, and inspect them as they are cracked through our machine.
Proper storage is essential to preserving the freshness of your harvested pecans. They should be stored in a cool, dry place to ward off rancidity. If you intend to keep them for an extended period, consider vacuum-sealing or freezing the nuts to extend their shelf life. Storing them in the refrigerator will help keep them fresh for up to a year, and freezing them will keep them fresh for up to two years.
Pecan harvesting is hard work that culminates in the joy of savoring these nutritious and delectable nuts in various culinary delights. Whether they're pressed into pecan oil, ground into pecan butter, baked into pies, or simply enjoyed as a nutritious snack, pecans harvested with care and precision are a true autumn delight. So, when the shucks open and the pecans fall, remember this journey - from the orchard to your table. It's a celebration of the flavors of the season and the pleasures of nature's bounty.
Want to see harvest in action? Check out our tour schedule!