Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Beans, beans, beans

This year was the first year we ever grew dry beans. They were very easy to grow, the work came after they were dry.

First they have to be harvested from the garden. Migrant Farm Hand Becky and I picked a bucket of them to test out the process. Then when my parents were here they picked the rest.

After they are picked, beans have to come out of the shells. This can be done by hand, but it's much easier and quicker to do large batches at a time. Patrick the "Tajik Goat Herding Farm Hand" took up the challenge. He loaded a batch into a feed sack and then stomped on them. Once the shells are cracked the beans come out. 

The next step is getting rid of the shells and chaff. Most of the shells can be picked out by the handful. Then we pour the beans out of the feed sack and into a bucket. This was done in front of a fan. In the process of pouring the fan would blow away the dirt and chaff and the beans would go into the bucket. After passing the beans back and forth in front of the fan a few times, we had a clean bowl of beans. 

As you can see our three varieties of beans are mixed. We grew kidney, pinto, and black beans. So the next step was sorting those beans by variety. We really didn't find a quick way of doing this besides        feeding our helpers some wine and dinner and asking them to do it.

 Finally the beans were sorted into Mason jars and we put them all in the freezer. Freezing them ensures that all the little bugs that may be in them are dead. (I should note that this photo is only part of the harvest.)

We'll be ready for lots of soups and chili this winter. What are your favorite ways to use beans?


  1. I enjoy ALL your columns...after reading this one on dry beans, will put them on my list for next spring's planting.....Thanks.........

  2. Punjabi Red Beans from 5 Spices 50 Dishes! (google that and click on the first link to google books)

    Oh, and I've discovered that black beans and tandoori seasoning go really well together. Saute them together in a little oil and they make a tasty side to burgers, mashed potatoes, whatever.

  3. Lorraine in WisconsinOctober 30, 2013 at 8:02 PM

    These pictures make me realize that beans are not only the musical fruit but also the dancing fruit!

  4. We grew dry beans for the first time this year but didn't have as much success because of the Mexican Bean Beetles and wet weather. The ones we did harvest I shelled them by hand and they only filled 3 jars. After a few weeks I noticed a little mold so I rinsed them really well and then spread them on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven on low heat for a little while. The rinse and heat got rid of the mold and they are perfectly fine to eat now. I use them in soups, stuffed green peppers, and nachos (just like the Black Cat nachos in Ashland, WI)!


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