Saturday, November 19, 2016
Home Grown Kidney Beans
When shopping for seeds at the feed store this past spring, I saw a package of kidney bean seeds. I've never grown them before and thought it might be a fun experiment.
Marc planted three rows of kidney beans, next to the regular bush beans. The bean pods took a bit longer to flower and set than other varieties but otherwise, they looked very similar.
I had the idea that I would pick them as they matured and can them without having to dry, soak, cook, etc. As I said, I'd never done it before, but had this bright idea. Turns out, that's not how it works at all.
There's really not a lot of info out there on raising these types of beans. I'm guessing that's because not many people do it nowadays. Everything I read said to leave the pods on the plant until dry, shell and store. That was about it.
As a couple of beans matured, I picked them and ate them raw. Nothing to write home about. As I did a little more googling I learned that eating raw kidney beans will make you sick! Supposedly even a few will produce vomiting, diarrhea, etc. I literally learned that right after I'd eaten those few raw ones. I waited for the violet illness to set in but it didn't happen thankfully. I'm pretty sure I'd have thrown them all out. Anyway, they must be well cooked before eating.
For the most part, all the beans were ready at once and before I knew it they were all dry on the plants. It was a very simple harvest job - just grab the dry bean pods and dump them in a bucket for later shelling. Unlike the fresh eating beans, the dry pods are brown and stand out against the green bush, making them easy to spot. There were a few green ones still not dry when I harvested them, so I popped out those beans and put them in the dehydrator for a bit to get good and dry before storing.
We had 3 rows about 25 feet long total, and harvested 5 pounds of beans. That may not sound like much but again this was only 3 small rows. The beauty of the whole thing is you drop in the seed and walk away until they're dry on the bush. So little effort, unlike the fresh green beans, which have to be picked as they mature and canned, these can sit around until it's convenient to deal with them. At the height of harvest and canning season, it was nice to have something that I didn't have to worry about going bad before I could deal with it.
I made a pot of chili with some the other night and they were quite good. Maybe it's my imagination but I think they were better than store-bought. ; )