Drying Dry Beans

First real snow is expected here over the next few days/nights, so we harvested the dry beans. They were mostly dry already, but a few were still flexible and a few of those still green. My question is how “lazy” can I be in drying these?

I suppose the best would be to hand sort and put the not yet dried pods out on a tarp or flat pan somewhere. However time and indoor space is somewhat limited as onions and potatoes are curing now too. I have read about hanging whole plants from rafters, but that is not really an option since we pulled the pods already, and there is no easy access to our attic space.

The pods are now in cardboard boxes, unsorted as to dryness. I was thinking that these are a pretty loose pile and with an occasional stir the still not dry beans might dry just fine in the boxes. Anyone in this group ever try that out? (FWIW, I am in the dry SW, inside humidity is typically 20-30% so much less mold pressure than other climates)

I’ve shelled some before when not quite dry, think the beans dry faster when out of the pod.

shell them now. even semi-dry pods have a disturbing tendency to mold.

Hi Steve, I pften pick my pods into paper bags or baskets to dry, putting them whereever there’s room, in the house or greenhouse (attached)till I have time to thresh them. The underripe ones will dry down and be edible though not as pretty. I’ve not had any problem with mold. Snow already! Even we’re not getting snow yet. We haven’t even had a frost yet! Crazy, but nice, year.

Thanks Sue. I had a feeling it might be OK, because that is what I ended up doing last year when I first grew dry beans. But that was more dumb luck, harvested the beans, brought them in and forgot them for a few months. Good to hear someone else has tried this with some success.

Yes, amazing you have not had a frost yet. It’s gone below freezing 4 or 5 nights so far. It’s 31F as I type this. Took out the corn, but we covered the beans and squash, which worked for the first couple of frosts but then it got more serious and they went too. Our pattern is a few frosts, and a touch of snow then warmer days and nights. That usually repeats a few times before winter really settles in. This upcoming snow is coming along with rain during the days, so anything still above ground is likely to be a soggy mess when it warms again; that’s why we pulled the dry beans in.

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Well here is a couple of years later, and I am again trying to figure out what to do with dry beans that haven’t fully dried when a week of snow and wet weather is coming.

The drying in a box solution from a few years back had mixed results, there was some molding that perhaps could have been prevented if I stirred the box more. I’ve tried pulling whole plants and hanging them to dry; that worked but took up a lot of space with the hanging plants for several weeks.

This year, I was thinking of picking the pods and spreading them on tarps under cover. Should take up quite a bit less space in the barn (at least vertical space). But I am wondering if there is a reason almost everyone recommends the hanging whole plants solution. I don’t mind experimenting, just don’t want to loose the whole crop rediscovering something that is common knowledge.

I am not sure how it fits your situation, but I freeze fully ripe shelled dry beans instead of drying it. Cooked, they come out the same way as soaked beans, just skip soaking!

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I think the hanging whole plants is recommended because it is easiest. To harvest mine, I just pulled the whole plants out. Got very little root and the dirt just fell off as I pulled it. I harvested little by little over the late summer as the plants dried up, so there were fewer left to pull after first frost. As I harvested them, I shelled them within a couple days. The outside of the pods were very mildewy while in the garden yet, but the beans inside seem fine. Picking the pods sounds like a lot of work. I just shell them right on the dried plant.


@galinas that sounds like a good idea, except that freezer space is at more of a premium than hanging space right now. But will have to give it a try sometimes.

@northwoodswis4 I suspect you are right. And normally I would just hang them, but my barn is chock full of in-progress projects right now and hanging bean plants would seriously get in the way. Your method of picking them as they are dry outside is the ideal, and I did do that with one of the varieties we grew (King of Early). The other varieties just did not mature fast enough to beat the cold wet weather, so they are inside now.

We spread them out on tarps on the floor of unused rooms in the house. Hopefully won’t be there too long. Will report back as to how they did drying there.