High in nutrients while being low in maintenance needs, black beans are a popular crop for the home gardener. Those who grow these vining legumes are rewarded at the end of the season with jars of glossy black dried beans, easily stored without any canning or freezing equipment needed. Harvesting and drying your black bean crop is uncomplicated, and many people involve their children by turning it into a family activity. No specialized equipment is needed and you can harvest an entire crop in one afternoon.
Things You'll Need
- Glass jars
- Zip top bags
Pick one or two beans from somewhere in your bean patch when the seed pods have become brown and brittle. Crack open the pods and look at the seeds. If they are white, the seeds are not done. Wait a few more days before testing again. If the beans in your test pods are all black, your plants are ready to harvest.
Pick the dried bean pods from the vines. Be careful not to rip the vines if there are green pods left on them. Collect all the pods in a basket or bucket for easy carrying.
Spread out sheets of newspaper in a protected area, like a covered porch or a garage floor. Crack open the seed pods and allow the black beans to fall onto the paper. Discard all of the seed pods or put them in your compost pile.
Spread out the black beans into a single layer. Allow them to lay out on the paper for two days to finish the drying process.
Scoop up the black beans from the paper and package them into glass jars or zip top bags. Store the containers of black beans in a cool dry place until you are ready to cook the beans.
Tips & Warnings
- Grow your black bean plants on a fence or trellis. This will allow you to find the beans easier once it is time to harvest them.
- Photo Credit black beans - background image by JJAVA from Fotolia.com
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