How to Dry Beans for Baking
Drying your own beans is a great way to make use of surplus beans at the end of harvest and preserve your own food for winter.
This year I had a lot of leftover green and yellow beans come the end of summer. We had been eating them all season and didn’t feel like eating anymore. I hate letting food go to waste so I decided to try drying the beans to use for baking and it worked out great! I had a hard time finding information about drying my own beans so I thought I would share what I did so you can try it too.
Before you can dry your beans you first need to grow them. You can plant beans that are specifically for drying, however I did not do this. Some examples of beans that are meant for drying are Jacob’s Cattle Beans and Kidney Beans. These are great if you want to plan ahead and have large amount of beans to store.
I grew green bush beans and yellow bush beans this year in our garden. We grew them for fresh eating and making pickled beans, however, we still had some left over at the end of the year so I used them for drying.
Let the beans that you want to dry grow to maturity in the garden, much longer than the beans you would eat fresh. As you let the beans grow, they will become less like a fleshy fresh bean and more like distinct seeds in their pod. Leave them on the plant in the garden until the bean pods start to loss their color and dry out. You should be able see and feel each distinct bean from the outside of the pod.
After the beans have matured in the garden pick all the bean pods.
Once picked, I brought my beans into our barn and laid them out on a table and waited for a sunny day. You want to make sure to lay out the beans in one layer even when you are not drying them, so that they do not go moldy.
The next sunny day spread the bean pods outside on a table in the sun to dry. In the evening bring the beans back indoors so that they do not get wet at night with the dew.
Shell the beans that dry completely and put the rest of the beans back out to dry again on the next sunny day. Repeated this until all the beans have dried, I needed to put my beans out in the sun 3 times before they all were dry.
A bean pod is ready to shell when it is completely dry. If you bend the pod between your fingers and it cracks open then it is ready to shell. However, if you do this and the pod bends instead of cracking open it needs to dry more.
When the bean pods are dry enough they should have no bend to them and easily snap, crack or break between your fingers. Crack them open and tap out the beans.
You can also tell if the beans are dry enough once you have shelled them. After you remove a bean from its pod, if you can push your fingernail into it then it is not dry enough but if it is hard and you cannot push your nail into it then it is properly dried. Another good indicator that a bean is dry is if you toss it against your bowl and it makes a pinging sound.
If you removed your beans from their shells and then you realize they are not dry enough just lay them out in a single layer to dry the rest of the way.
Storing & Using
Once all your beans are dried and have been shelled put them in a container and keep them just like store-bought dried beans. I put mine in a large mason jar in the cupboard. If the beans have been dried properly they should last in storage for at least a year or more.
You can cook with your dried beans the same way as you do with store-bought dried beans.
I used some of my home dried beans to make slow cooker baked beans. These baked beans turned out very similar to when I make them with red kidney beans, they just had a slightly different flavor. I plan on using the rest of my beans in soups this fall.
I was really happy with how well my dried beans turned out. I thought they may not work because they were just left over green and yellow beans, but they worked out great!
I had heard from many people that regular green beans would not work for making baked beans, so it was great to tell them about how successful they were. It is so nice to make use of food that would otherwise go to waste.
Let me know if you have ever tried drying your own beans and what are your favorite beans to dry.
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Hey, I’m Maggie. I hope you will join me and my family in getting back to the land. Here you will learn about making things yourself, cooking homegrown food, and beginning a homesteading journey.