Friday, 1 November 2013

Shelling beans

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.


  1. well they look pretty even though they may be a waste of space... and should the zombie hoards attack...

  2. We haven't am airing cupboard so I'm not sure how we would dry beans.

  3. I love the color of dried beans too. I put them in jars and line the jars up on my cabinet in the dining room.

  4. They are beautiful. I've got a bowl of borlotti beans on top of the piano, for want of somewhere sensible to put them.


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