[Homestead] Beans, beans, the musical fruit
Clansgian at wmconnect.com
Clansgian at wmconnect.com
Fri Jun 20 11:19:40 EDT 2008
> Anybody growing any?
> What kinds?
> How do you cook them? Soak? No soak? Salt? No salt?
> I'm in a bean frame of mind at the moment.
Currently gowing even as we speak:
Soybeans (black, yellow, and edamame [which are just big yellow ones]
White half runners
Black turtle breans
Genuine Cornfield bean
Seckled Tepary (bush beans in the desert, but runners here)
Ocotober (aka Cranberry)
That list might not be complete.
Some of the beans are in the hard corn, some along the fence (mainly the
half-runners). Bush beans are planted in 'hills' four or five beans to a hill 18"
across. This evensn out germination and makes it easy to cultivte around the
beans until they canopy covers the bed. Beans are planted a few feet of bed
every week so that we aren't buried in the harvest all at once.
A few snap beans are canned. Some are partially cooked (more than blanching)
and frozen. Some are dried into "leather britches". And of curse some are
pickled. About ten gallons of them are salted by shreading them as for French
cut beans and packing alternating layers of salt and beans in a crock. In the
winter some of the beans are removed and rinsed to remove the salt. Salted
beans taste more like fresh than any other method.
Some of the shell beans are canned so they can be had quickly in the off
season. Most are dried. The dried ones are frozen for three days, thawed for
three days, then frozen for three more days to kill any insect eggs.
Some of the beans serve dual purposes. Any bean that gets too mature is a
shell bean. Until some Texans moved into the hollow here, I did not know that
pintos make an excellent snap bean (string bean, if you will). Some beans
don't. You couldn't snap an October bean even if much depended on it. By the
bye, they are called Ocotober beans here about (our main staple) because if you
plant them in late July or early August, they are ripe in October just before
the first frost.
Beans in the "green shell" stage are the best for canning. Someone I worked
with who had relatives in Maine brought me some bags of Jacob's Cattle beans
which are available in the grocery stores up there. I took her some quarts of
canned beans after the harvest and she insisted on having the recipe, had
never tasted beans like that although she'd eaten JC beans all her life.
No recipe. They were just beans and salt, nothing else. But they were
picked when the hull had turned yellow but had not begun to dry. At this stage the
beans taste neither like snap beans nor dried beans. They can be frozen, and
it's a simple thing to fill a cookie sheet until the beans rattle like
marbles in the freezer, then put the in a large bag. They remain as loose as
pebbles and you take out just what you need. But the taste is better preserved by
You can't plant too many beans. The day before yesterday we ate a pot of
beans with a little pork fat (which we salted from our own pigs) and corn bread.
The next day the left over beans were mixed with a little ground beast,
cilatro, gralic, and chilis to make tacos. The left over taco filling was frozen
to use for chip dip later.
Any beans you don't manage to use for human food make excellent animal feed,
beans, hulls, haulms, leaves, everything. Mow or cut off the bean vines and
leave the roots in the ground. Else just turn the whole thing under after
harvest to greatly improve the soil.
By the bye, beans can't cross pollinate. They are perfect flowered. So you
can grow as many varieties right beside each other and they will not cross and
will come up next year true to seed.
Guys, red habenas in the mart were 58 cents a pound this winter, hardly worth
growing them for it. But now they are $1.18 and rising. Now, says I, is a
good time to get used to growing beans.
Last year I planted some white half runners on the 22nd of August and got a
harvest. Plenty of time yet to be Fabian (Latin for 'bean grower').
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