Now that the canning is done, we can turn our minds to the dry, yellowed beans we sorted out of the pile in the beginning. They won’t go to waste. If you were planning to grow beans to use for soup beans you would leave them on the plant until they, and the plant were completely dry. Some people uproot the whole plant and hang it upside down in a shed to dry. We didn’t do this because it is hoped these plants will make one more harvest before the season ends.
These beans are in various stages, from completely dry to only slightly too yellow to can, so we have laid them in the sun on a sheet for a few days. Laying them on the sheet is ideal because you can easily bring them in if there is rain, and in the evening to keep the dew off of them.
Shucking, or hulling, the beans is fairly easy, relaxing work. The children in particular took well to it. (They’re actually extremely disappointed that we don’t have more to do). The beans are definitely easiest to shuck when they are very dry, but we went ahead and did them all anyway. Because they were not completely dry I oven dried them on 170 for four hours to finish them off. We ended up with 10 pounds. This may seem like a lot, but I expect 10 pounds to only last us about two months. Beans are an excellent, inexpensive, source of protein that can be cooked with minimal input from me, for which I appreciate them greatly. There isn’t so much a recipe for soup beans, it’s more of a technique.
A Suggestion for the Cooking of Beans
1 1/2 lbs beans
3 Garlic cloves
Seasoned salt, pepper
(Meat or drippings)
- Soak the beans overnight. In the morning bring them to a boil for 10 minutes
- Into the pot add the onion and garlic. I typically just quarter the onion and leave the garlic whole since Miss Della finds the appearance of onions revolting. This way I can scoop around them.
- If you are using meat, brown it and add it to the pot. If you are just using bacon grease or drippings add it while the pot boils too. You can also use butter, or fat back. Whatever you’ve got really.
- Add the salt and pepper.
- Cook in a slow cooker on low all day, an oven on 250, or the top of a wood stove. Beans are best when they do not boil (after the initial 10 minute boil to set their minds right). Boiling tears them up and make the whole pot too mushy, but a long low heat makes them perfectly soft yet still cohesive.
- For variations try mixing different kinds of beans (I like lima beans best), or add rice, corn, or carrots.