How to Hand Harvest Almonds

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Almonds are ready to harvest from August through October, depending on the variety of almond tree. Like all nut trees, the almond tree bears its nuts inside a shell and a hull. The hull of the almond tree splits open to reveal the almond inside. When 75 to 95 per cent of the hulls on the almond tree are split open, you can begin harvesting the almonds by hand. While commercial growers use mechanical tree shakers to harvest almonds, home nut tree owners can use a simple pole or mallet.

Spread a plastic tarp or sheet under the almond tree before you begin harvesting. The tarp will catch the nuts as they fall and keep the insects on the ground from getting to the nuts before you can pick them up.

Strike the major branches of the almond tree with a rubber mallet. The force of the blows will shake the almonds loose from their hulls, and they will fall onto the tarp.

Hit any smaller branches that still have almonds on them with a pole. These almonds will also fall onto the tarp.

Pick up the almonds that have fallen onto the tarp or sheet. Lay the almonds in one layer on a drying tray and set them in a dry area with good air circulation. Leave the nuts to dry until they are crisp. Cover the nuts with a screen if you are drying them outside to protect them from birds.

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