Harvesters should pick pecans between October and early December, when the nuts are falling continually. If pecans remain on the ground too long, they become moist and deteriorate in quality. Pecans should dry for several days in a warm indoor space until they are crisp and easy to split.
Drying pecans properly enhances their flavor and appearance. Dampness causes their seed coats to darken and elevates their fatty acid levels, making the nuts rancid and stale. Freezing or refrigerating pecans once they are dry extends their useful life. Harvesters can reap about 1,000 pounds of pecans from one well-maintained acre of pecan trees. Bakers use between 1/2 and 3/4 of a pound of pecans to make one pecan pie.