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Should Green Pecans be Picked Up?

Should Green Pecans be Picked Up?

If you have a beautiful fruit-bearing pecan tree and green pecans have begun to fall, what should you do with them and why is this happening in the first place?  There are many factors that contribute to green pecans falling.  There may be hope for some of them, but you'll have to do some investigating to find out.

In most cases, pecan trees drop their nuts in the fall when they're fully ripe and ready to be harvested.  The husk will start to split and the nutshell beneath the husk will turn brown.  When fallen pecans are green, this means something has interfered with the ripening process.  

Possible reasons for green pecans falling include pests knocking them down or the tree could be purging itself of too much fruit.  Insufficient water, soil deficiency (usually nitrogen or zinc),  pests like worms, and poor pollination can also contribute to premature nuts falling.  Some pests will eat green pecans, even though they're not fully ripe.  In most cases, the nut inside isn't edible because it hasn't had time to fully develop.  You'll be able to tell if they taste bitter and have a sticky, soft texture, instead of the buttery, rich, and nutty flavor of a ripe pecan.

You can try to salvage green pecans if you're able to peel off the green skin.  If you can't, this means they fell too soon and cannot be used.  Make sure to wear protective gloves when attempting to peel the skin because green pecans can dye your skin black for a few days.  Press a blade into the shell until you reach the hard inner shell.  Score it by spinning the pecan as you hold the blade in place.  Make two circles in perpendicular intersections around the green shell.  Pull each divided section with the tip of your knife until you've removed the green husk from the hard inner shell.  Scrape off any leftover green spots.  Let them sit in a warm, well-ventilated area so the pecans can dry out.  In about a week, they will turn brown and be ready to eat.  They won't taste as good as a pecan that matured while still on the tree, but you may be able to get some use out of them.
If you need help picking them up, check out our Pecan Nut Harvester here.



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