I think I will remember this year as the year of the beans. Lord we have picked the beans this year! Beans are a great homestead food. Cheap and easy to grow and high in protein. They are an excellent way to stretch your meat stores as well using just a small amount of smoked meat as flavoring and even eating them over rice.
Of course we have our favorites like most gardeners. Above is the Jade bean that you have heard me mention so often. We have 80 quart jars now in the pantry and have started selling the remaining harvests to the local produce man to take to the farmers market. This does help to defray the costs of what few seeds we do buy each year. We will retain enough seeds to replant next year.
We also grow the Louisiana Red Bean started from grocery store stock and the Lina Sisco Bird Egg. I am going to lump these two together because they are in the same family of beans. The Red Beans above will start to yellow when ready. Once the pods yellow they are ready to pick or you can wait and pick them as dry beans. I pick them as they turn yellow then pull up the plants to make way for the fall garden crops.
The Lina Sisco Bird Eggs are also a horticulture type bean and the pods also turn yellow but develop purple streaks through both the pods and the beans. Once you see those purple streaks they are ready to pick. Also an open pollinated heirloom the seeds are also saved from these. You cannot plant these two beans in the same garden or they will cross pollinate and they will all be red beans. Ask me how I know this : )
Both can be canned or frozen and when cooked down make a thick and rich gravy. These are some of our favorite beans to add a little sausage or pork too and simmer on low all day.
You can see the Lina Sisco beans above and the purple streaking on the shells and beans.
Above are the red beans when the outer pod turns yellow.
But the bean inside will eventually turn a deep red as it ages.
Red Beans I prefer to freeze. Lina Sisco Horticulture Beans pictured above I prefer to can. My family likes these straight out of the jar cooked with a little onion and bacon for flavoring.
These are purple hull peas. Like field peas these are a warm weather, drought tolerant crop that will grow in many different soil types. This is a southern staple. The produce man did manage to con me out of a few to take to the farmers market. I guess they are hard to find up here and he always turns up in the summer looking for those southern crops out of my garden that are hard to find this far north. Purple hull peas and fresh young okra are both southern crops that I have brought north with me. They do as well in these Missouri hills as they did in southern Louisiana or the Mississippi Delta of my youth.
Purple hull peas when picked young and tender will turn your fingers purple when you shell them. Thus I have been walking around for several weeks now with purple fingers.
These are what are called Pink Eyed Purple Hulls. Notice the pink coloration around the eyes of the pea. I personally think as field peas or crowder peas go this is the best tasting of them. I also plant field peas as green manure and cover crops to enrich my soil. Just a foot note the goats love them also and they make great goat food through the summer.
They can be canned in jars, frozen or dried. They can be cooked with onions and meat as flavoring or used in a traditionally southern dish called Hoppin John along with okra. My mother also made a pea salad that was good.
We will not put any more peas up after these buckets that Baby O and I picked yesterday. We have started pulling the plants and feeding them to the goats to make way for another crop. If we have room after the corn we may plant some specifically for goat food going into the fall and early winter months to avoid feeding hay too early.
With red beans still on the bush and horticulture beans still in the garden also, my bean shelling days will continue for quite a few weeks. But sometimes I look forward to the chance to sit on the porch and just do a mundane task as shelling beans and enjoying the weather. It's a good thinking and praying job.
Is any one else's bean field as healthy as mine this year?
Blessings from The Holler
The Canned Quilter