I have been drying my "Veitch's" climbing French Beans in a basket in the airing-cupboard, and at the weekend I judged some of them to be dry enough for shelling:
I reckon that a bean-pod is ready for shelling when the skin is dry and crispy and the beans inside rattle when you shake it.
I sorted my pods and only shelled the ones that I thought were ready. They were a very mixed bag. Some were completely dry and had gone a deep red colour; others were surprisingly soft despite their crispy shells and were still a delicate pink colour. One or two had begun to sprout.
The beans in that bowl weighed just over 150 grams. When they are all fully dry they will weigh a bit less, so they probably represent only one meal's worth for two people. This is why I don't devote much of my patch to growing beans for shelling. The same amount of space used for growing beans for eating as fresh pods would produce a lot more food - probably four or five times as much. Despite this, I LIKE dried home-grown beans! In January or February they will make a fine ingredient for a pork casserole or a Mexican-style chilli con carne and they will remind me of the Summer.
Since I had considerable difficulty getting any of these beans to germinate, I plan to save a few of the best ones for next year, then I will know that I am starting with fresh stock.
Even if they were not edible, I'd enjoy having these beans. Those deep red "jewels" are things of beauty in their own right.