Friday, October 10, 2014

Saving Seed and Harvesting Dried Beans

I spent part of the day shelling out the dried beans and okra seed that we will save for planting next year. I have black eye peas, two types of crowders and okra. Crowder peas are a wonderful addition to a homestead garden. They can be eaten green, as a shell bean, frozen, canned or dried. They are a true workhorse in the garden for the homesteader. After freezing all we wanted, I had enough leftover of the dried to store 3 lbs. in the pantry for eating this winter.
Earlier I dried and saved seed from the huge banana peppers I froze. We have a  nice stash of Grandpa's watermelon seeds. Happily this year we are adding an old timey pumpkin seed grown for many years by the nice folks that run the local feed store.
Another new seed saved was a green bean called Greasy Bean. I planted about 6 seeds on a trellis in the herb garden and as they have dried, shelled and saved them. I should have enough to actually eat next year! Greasy beans are a longtime favorite of the mountain community, it can be eaten or canned as young green bean. Later stages shelled out, sometimes called "shellies" and cooked fresh. One of my favorite ways of seeing it preserved is by stringing the green beans on a piece of thread and allowing to dry. They are called "leather britches." Next year I hope to see several long strings of leather britches hanging in my pantry!

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