Stick-to-your-ribs Shelling or Dry Beans are used in cassoulet, goulash, ragout, salad, soup, stew and herbed concoctions in almost every ethnic cuisine. Two weeks prior to the last spring frost date
, direct sow seed in a deeply dug, fairly fertile, sandy and well-draining bed. Grown like regular Green Beans, it is the curing on the vine, the drying process and the shelf-life that set Shelling Beans apart. Grow the plants until fully mature and keep them in the garden until all the leaves and pods are yellow, some may have already turned brown. Then, lift the entire plant. Do not worry about mild night frosts, but do harvest if a hard killing frost is predicted. If the Bean pods have not fully matured prior to lifting the plants, hang the plants upside down in a dry area with good air circulation. Once the pods are completely dried, gather the plants together and thresh them on a large sheet or tarp. Create your own harvest dance and stomp on them until all of the Beans have separated from their pods. Winnow the Beans from the chaff on a windy day or with a fan until everything has blown away from the seeds. High in starch, protein and dietary fiber, Shelling Beans are an excellent source of Vitamin B6, iron and potassium. Store them in a cool, dry spot; presoak in tepid water overnight and rinse prior to use in savory, slow-cooked dishes.
Average seed life: 3 years.