Did you feel it, Texans? That big breeze that blew through and dropped the temperature 15 degrees this afternoon….it smells like….fall! (Finally!)
And windy days in the fall mean one thing around Unintended Domesticity HQ — time to harvest some pecans from the giant, ancient pecan tree we have growing in our front yard.
But you don’t even need your own pecan tree to go pecan picking. You can find these bad boys all over local parks, roadways, etc. So how does one harvest pecans?
Well, it’s pretty easy. You *could* theoretically get a ladder, climb the tree, and pick the pecans from the source, I suppose. But this is where that windy day comes in — we just wait for them to fall to the ground, then pick them up, shuck them and throw them in a bucket.
There are a few key things to know before you do this:
- You want to look for pecans in which the surrounding greenish-brown husk has started to open on its own accord. That’s why the top three on the left are all ok, even though they are of different shades and stages of dryness/falling from the tree.
- Anything that hasn’t opened at all (like the bottom right example) isn’t quite ripe. Also, if the husk clings to the pecan and is hard to remove? Don’t force it. Just toss that one and move on.
- Once you’ve removed the husk (or if you find a pecan already out of its husk) you want to survey it for any insect activity (look for wormholes or cracks) but also any mold. The top right example is covered in a silverish white powder, meaning we should discard it.
- Don’t be afraid if they have some brownish residue, like the second example on the bottom left; that’s just some residual husk that will dry out in a few days time.
We spent just under two hours scouring for pecans last night and tonight, and ended up with a 2.5 gallon bucket full of pecans:
We’ll let these dry for a few weeks (it helps them mature), by occasionally stirring the bucket and keeping them in a cool, dry place. Then, we’ll take them to our local Senior Activity Center, which offers pecan cracking at a very reasonable rate each November.
From there, these will be turned into honey roasted pecans, one of our favorite gifts to give at Christmas time.
And if you can’t make it out today, don’t worry — the pecans will keep falling over the next couple weeks. Happy hunting!