If someone had told us years ago that not only would we someday spent our weekends sorting beans, bit that we would also enjoy it, well…we’d have thought that person was slightly off their rocker.
But here we are.
Yep, this weekend we sorted beans.
And it was fun, because of course it was! We’ve come to really enjoy growing shelling beans, because you get so much from very little work. Of course, maybe we should learn to train out beans better so that they don’t grow into a massive tangle, but then, hunting for the beans on a cool fall morning is part of the fun, as well. Though, perhaps we should say of late, a warm fall morning, as summer recently reared its ugly head here at the beginning of October. Still, picking dried bean pods no matter the weather is still rewarding, because from then emerge jewels. (Jewels you can eat, nonetheless!)
The collection of beans in the picture above is what we gathered before our last post. This past weekend, they were all finally dry enough to sort. Sure, we could be proactive about it and just sort the beans as we shell them, but sometimes beans don’t dry as nicely as you think they should. Sorting them by hand later lends, we think, to better quality control. Luckily, of the mass of beans we had to sort, only a fraction of them turned out to be bad. The rest went into storage containers and are destined for some bean sup come the winter. Yum!
Meanwhile, there were plenty more beans to pick. You might imagine our surprise when we went out to the bean patch and found a new if small crop of wax beans!
The wax beans were a real surprise, as only a couple weeks ago we thoughts the plants were pretty much done. Seems they had other ideas! Somewhat surprisingly, the batch of beans was very tasty. They were a little tough, but nowhere near as leathery as one might expect late-season string beans to be.
Meanwhile, with the new bowl-full of new pods, we had to get to more shelling! And the results..?
Hoo boy, what a selection of beans we got! The beans ranged from fresh (raw) to fully dried. Mst noticeable here are the Christmas Lima beans, the largest of which are as meaty as the end of one’s thumb! (And there are many more pods still on the wines outside.) Beyond that, we also had a great harvest of Dixie Speckled Butterpeas – they are mini Lima beans that are pick with maroon speckles. We also got some more black beans, as well as the pretty, green-gray Fort Portal Jade beans. We also ended up with a handful of the white-with-dark-speckles Rattlesnake beans, as well as just a few gray spotted Blue Goose cowpeas. What made up the bulk of the harvest was the Red Ripper cowpeas. In the photo, the plain dark pink ones are fully dried, bt the tan-colored ones (which look more like light pink in person) are the fresh, raw beans that need to dry.
With all the craziness going on in the world today, it’s nice to know that, no matter what, we’ll always have beans. 🙂