Beans! Glorious Beans!

After recovering from last week’s mini-flu and being merry this past Labor Day weekend, we got back out into the garden to pick…BEANS! If there’s one thing in the garden that’s doing better than just about everything else it’s the beans. Not the string beans (their season has passed), but the pole beans and bush beans, both of which require shelling and drying.

Just a handful of said beans, waiting to be shelled.
Just a handful of said beans, waiting to be shelled.

Or, in our case, just shelling because the pods and beans have already dried! That’s the really nice thing about thee beans — if you happen to forget about them, having them dry on the plants is no problem. At least them you’re sure that the beans are ready to store. (Though it’s always a good idea to set them out to dry for at least a few days, just to make sure they are all really dry. In the case of beans, one bad, wet bean can spoil the whole bunch, so no sense in letting your harvest go moldy.)

With having yesterday (Labor Day) off, we go to picking and shelling. We’ve got plenty to save now, and looking at what’s left on the plants, there are lots more to come! So let’s see just some of what we ended up with.

It’s kind of a short story, because once we shell all the beans…

Shelled and ready to sort.
Shelled and ready to sort.

…then it’s time to sort.

The first few of many piles.
The first few of many piles.

In the picture above we ended up with Blue Goose cowpeas (top left), Red Ripper cowpeas (top center), a few unripe black beans (top right), Cherokee Trail of Tears black beans (right), Holstein cowpeas (bottom center right), a couple Christmas lima beans (bottom center left), and Turkey Craw beans (bottom left). It’s a veritable cacophony of beans!

Seeing as how pretty the beans are, we couldn’t resist taking a few “artistic” shots.

The Blue Goose beans are very pretty, and they aren't really blue. More of a light gray speckled when they are raw. They become more brown when dry.
The Blue Goose beans are very pretty, and they aren’t really blue. More of a light gray speckled when they are raw. They become more brown when dry.
The Red Ripper beans start out very pink. They eventually dry to a deep maroon color.
The Red Ripper beans start out very pink. They eventually dry to a deep maroon color.
The speckled Turkey Craw beans also start out very pink and white. When dry, the pink part turns a dark, dull red, and the white part browns a little.
The speckled Turkey Craw beans also start out very pink, and white. When dry, the pink part turns a dark, dull cranberry red, and the white part turns beige.
The black beans are the prettier of them all. When raw, they take on various shades of dark blue and violet. They all dry a deep black.
The black beans are the prettiest of them all. When raw, they take on various shades of dark blue and violet. They all dry a deep black.

In addition to making a good harvest of these beans, we also managed a decent if small crop of soybeans this year.

Edamame, anyone?
Edamame, anyone?

Last year the squirrels and rabbits got to the soybeans before they even had a chance. This year, we planted the soybeans in one of the back barrels (when tomatoes would have been if they hadn’t died off early), and they did pretty well. We might try this placement for them again next year.

As more beans come in, it’ll soon be time to plan out all the bean soups and stews we’ll be making this winter! That is an exciting prospect, indeed. 🙂

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