Allow Beans to Dry on the Vine?

It’s a question I’ve been pondering of late.  Should I or shouldn’t I allow Mother Nature to dry my beans, whereby the kids and I simply pluck them and shuck them and store them airtight?  Sure does make it easier than blanching and freezing.  But is it healthier?

To prepare dried beans, one must soak them overnight, or boil and simmer for an hour, rinse; boil and simmer for another hour and rinse–and this is merely to soften them up!  Not only have some of your valuable nutrients leached from the bean, you still have to cook them, which leeches more nutrients from the bean.  An alternative method is to simmer beans all day.  This keeps their “broth” nutrient rich and helps maintain their shape.  Mushy beans are not attractive (to most people, anyway).

However, in order to pick them fresh and blanch them for storage, one must time it just so…

A huge problem for me.  I’m a busy gal–places to go, people to see, kids to entertain!  I don’t always “hit” the bean harvest at the exact right time, not to mention my bean plants produce mature pods at different rates which makes for a lot of “quick” trips to the stove.

It’s a dilemma.  I’m trying the “dry on the vine” method this spring to see how it goes.  I handle my black beans and kidney beans this way regardless, but not my limas and black eyes.  I usually pick them fresh and plump and prepare them that evening or blanch them for storage. 

How’s it going?  So far, so good.  Except for the heavy rains.  Seems a few of my pods have succumbed to mold which is no good.  Icky, really and definitely NOT the kind of thing you can convince a child to pick, peel and plop into the storage container.

Oh, well.  So much for cheap labor.  We still have plenty that remain mold-free and ready for storage!