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Debbie Roy Brokerage Company
The Shelled Pecan

The pecan is considered one of the most valuable North American nut species.  The history of pecans can be traced back to the 16th century and is unique among tree nuts as it is indigenous or native only to North America.  The trees grew originally in central and eastern North America and the river valleys of Mexico.Pecans were widely used by pre-colonial residents; favored because they were easier to shell than any other North American nut species.

Pecans were also preferred for their flavorful taste and were readily available to North American tribes in the United States and Mexico. The tribes also used the pecans as a major food source.

Harvesting

Harvesting, accumulation, and marketing generally begin in October in parts of the "Pecan Belt" and extend into February and March the following year.

Packaging

  • Pecan halves and pieces are generally packed in 30 pound corrugated boxes with or without polyvinyl liners.
  • Pecan halves and pieces can be "vacuum packed".
  • Pecan halves and pieces are also available in cello bags; the most popular sizes are 8 oz., 12 oz., and 16 oz. cello bags.

Shipping

  • 20 foot containers hold approximately 800 30 lb. corrugated boxes.
  • 40 foot containers hold approximately 1,334 30 lb. corrugated boxes.
  • Recommend shipping in refrigerated containers during summer months.

Typical Shelf Life of Pecans

Expected shelf life of raw pecan nut meats is up to two years at 0° F (-17° C). Pecans may be refrozen repeatedly without loss of flavor or texture. Keep in a cool place with relative humidity at or below 72%. To insure freshness, store below 41° F (5° C). It has been found that pecan pieces have a shorter storage life than pecan halves.

Temperature Shelled In-Shell
70° F (21° C)
3 months 4 months
32° F (0° C) 12 months 18 months
0° F (-17° C) 24 - 60 months
24 - 60 months

Storage

Frozen pecans should be tempered by placing them in a cooler room with temperatures of 36° F - 47° F (2.2° C - 8.3° C) with relative humidity of 65% to 75% for a period of 72 hours before moving them into ambient temperature. This will allow any condensation that may form on the pecans to dissipate. If pecans are not tempered properly, the condensation that may form on the pecans will create conditions where mold is likely to develop. Therefore, a series of gradually increasing temperatures is desirable. Pecans should not be stored with odorous products such as apples, onions, spices, etc., and should not be stored in facilities cooled by ammonia.

Preventing Infestation

Insects can be a problem in nuts; in order to prevent insect infestation store below 46° F (7° C) or keep nuts sealed in an airtight container, especially if they are shelled.

Pecan Portfolio

Sources

National Pecan Shellers Association

USDA (United States Standards for Grades of Shelled Pecans)

Pecan Harvesting, Sizes, and Grades