Pecans are lovely nuts that can be used in various dishes, both sweet and savory. Unless you have a nut allergy, you have most likely had pecan nuts in some form or another. Whether it’s a pecan nut pie, ice cream sundae, or carrot cake with chopped pecans, it is always best to use fresh pecans. So when are pecans in season?
Pecans are harvested in fall and winter. Pecan season usually starts in October and lasts until December. A pecan tree can take anywhere from seven to ten years before it has enough fruit to harvest. Therefore, pecans are an extremely labor-intensive nut to cultivate.
When Are Pecans In Season?
Pecan nuts will start to grow in the late spring. They take about six months to reach maturity, which is when they can be harvested. During the late summer months, Pecans are harvested. Pecan harvesting will finish in early winter.
Pecans are labor-intensive as they require a lot of water and care during the growing months. Pecans will also only start producing enough pecans to harvest them once the trees are 7 to 10 years old.
Furthermore, pecans are susceptible to various pests and diseases. Therefore, if the conditions are unsuitable, pecan trees will not bear as many pecans, which might die.
Pecan nut trees are native to the southern parts of North America. They are primarily cultivated in Georgia, Texas, and New Mexico. These areas are perfect for growing pecans because of the fertile soil and low humidity.
How Do You Harvest Pecans?
Pecans are ready to be harvested when the hulls that contain the pecan nuts open, dropping the pecans to the ground, which means that you don’t actually need to do any picking. Commercial pecan farmers don’t wait for the pecans to fall by themselves. Instead, they use special equipment to shake the trees that then drop the pecan nuts.
You can also shake your tree at home. Waiting for the pecans to drop naturally can be a long process, and many animals who also love to eat pecans might beat you to the fallen pecans. If you decide to harvest your pecan nuts by shaking the tree, be sure to do so gently to avoid damaging the tree’s roots.
Once the pecans have fallen to the ground, you can collect them and store them. If you intend to use pecans within a short while of harvesting them, you can keep them in a clean burlap bag. However, if you don’t want to use your pecans within a short time, or you want to store your pecans deshelled, there are some steps you need to take.
Can Pecan Nuts Go Bad?
Pecan nuts can indeed go bad in a couple of ways. The first thing that can go wrong with a pecan nut is that it can go rancid. This is when the oils that are in the nuts go bad. Rancid pecans will have a foul, bitter taste. Their texture will also be rubbery or crumbly. You should not eat nuts that have gone rancid.
Mold is another thing that can cause pecans to go bad. Pecan nuts have a high moisture content, making them so plump and crunchy. Unfortunately, the more moisture the nuts have, the more prone they are to mold. If you notice any of your pecans becoming moldy, you should remove them from the bag at once.
There are a couple of methods to prevent your pecans from going bad. For example, you can store your nuts in their shells, de-shell and store them in the fridge or freezer, or roast them to remove some moisture.
How Do You Store Nuts?
Pecans kept in their shells can last for about four months at room temperature. This is a long time. However, suppose you want to store your pecans for a more extended period or have too many pecans to use at once. In that case, you need to store them correctly to keep them from going bad.
How Do You Store Pecans In Their shells?
Storing pecans in their shell is best to ensure they don’t go bad. The shell will help to protect the nut against mold, and it will keep the oils inside the pecan from going rancid. However, even if pecans are stored in their shells, there is still a chance of them going bad within a few months.
To prevent your pecans from going bad in their shells, you can either store them in the fridge or freezer. Pecans kept in their shells can last for about 20 months in the refrigerator.
To store your pecans in the fridge, you must place them in an airtight plastic bag or glass jar. You can then place them in the refrigerator, where they will last for almost two years.
To store your pecans in the fridge, you will also place them in an airtight container and put them in the freezer. Pecans that are stored in the freezer can last for almost five years.
When you want to use the pecans you have stored in the freezer, you need to thaw them very slowly to maintain their texture and taste.
How Do You Store Pecans That Have Been Shelled?
If you want to remove your pecans from their shells before storing them, you will also need to store them correctly. Pecans out of their shells do not last as long as pecans in their shells. Pecans that have been chopped last even shorter.
Removing the shells from your pecans can take some time, but it is easy enough to do with a nutcracker. Be sure to remove any shells or hulls that are inside the nut.
Once the nuts are removed from their shells, you can keep them whole or chop them up. Thereafter, You can store them in the fridge or freezer. Deshelled pecans can be stored at room temperature for about three months.
To store pecans in the fridge, place them in an airtight container and place them in the refrigerator. Deshelled pecans can last for about 18 to 24 months in the refrigerator. In the freezer, they can last for up to five years.
You should remember to thaw deshelled pecans slowly as well when you remove them from the freezer. If you want to keep your pecans at room temperature for longer than three months, you can also roast them to remove some moisture.
How Do You Roast Pecans?
Roasting pecans will help remove some moisture which allows the pecans to last longer without going bad. It also helps to elevate the flavors in the pecans. Here is how to make perfectly roasted pecans.
- Firstly, you need to remove the shells from your pecans. Then, you can chop them or keep them whole. Note that the times for chopped pecans will be shorter.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F and spread your pecans in a single layer on a baking tray.
- Roast your pecans for five to ten minutes in the oven, or until they have browned slightly and smell aromatic.
- Leave the pecans to cool completely and store them in an airtight container.
Roasted pecans do not keep as long as pecans in the fridge or freezer will. However, they are a delicious addition to your pecan pantry.