Thursday 15 September 2011

Harvesting the "shelling" beans

As most you will know, I have grown a few plants of several types of climbing bean this year. Harvest time has come now, and I have picked most of my beans. First to mature were the "Cherokee Trail of Tears", which I wrote about 10 days or so ago. Since then they have been in the airing-cupboard, on a "Drying cycle" if you get my meaning... Before shelling the beans, the pods should be thoroughly dry. You can actually tell when they are ready by the rustling sound they make when you run your hand through a pile of them.

Not a huge quantity of beans, I know (add in the few I picked to test their ripeness, a few days earlier), but not bad when you consider that this is the harvest from only two plants.

I have also picked all of my few "Selma Zebra" and some of the "Coco Blanc a Rames" and Borlotti.

This is about half of my crop of Borlotti. The rest are probably about a fortnight behind these. When harvesting them I look for mature pods that are cream with bright red splashes, rather than immature ones which are green with muted "wine-coloured" splashes. Also you should be able to identify individually each of the beans inside the pods. If you can't see/feel the beans they are probably not big enough to be worth harvesting.

These beans are edible now - they are at what the French call the "flageolet" stage. They are quite soft.
I shelled a few straight away just to see what they are like, though I plan to dry the rest for Winter use, just like the Cherokee ones.

The green ones at the top are Borlotti "Lingua di Fuoco"; the white ones are "Coco Blanc a Rames", and the speckled ons are "Selma Zebra".

I have still got one more treat to come - the Yin Yang beans. They're not ready for harvest yet. Oh, and by the way, the French beans and Runner beans are still continuing to produce pods at a steady rate which is just enough to provide sufficient for our use without being a glut. This is "Delinel", a dwarf French bean that produces very slender pods.


  1. I'd be interested to know how you dry the beans Mark

  2. Very interesting Mark!

    Beans are one of my favourite things to grown, and as of yet (touch wood) I have never,ever felt let down by them.

    Well done on another great post!


  3. What gorgeous beans, Mark. A wonderful variety!

  4. I always grow green or white been, I thing in 2012 I will put also black been. I am interested to see how they taste.

  5. Interesting Mark - we ate the first of our late sowing of Trail of Tears this evening, as tender young beans, they were delicious. I'm not sure any will get to the point where I could dry them for later use.

  6. Dry beans are always so pretty.

  7. So many beans! and they look great, I hope I can grow some colorful ones too next season.

  8. I can't believe your garden is ramping down so quickly. I am definitely going to grow as many beans as I can for drying this year...thanks for the tips about picking etc.

  9. The colouring in the beans are just wonderful! I was away in Madeira (the garden island of Portugal) last week so I'll have to catch up on your blog posts over the weekend as I don't want to miss anything!

  10. I find beans so tactile, and they're a visual treat too, such beautiful colours in some of them. It's good that you grow a variety.

  11. Colourful beans! I actually don't know what to do dried beans.


Thank you for taking time to leave me a comment! Please note that Comment Moderation is enabled for older posts.