An Old-Time Southern Method of Preserving Beans

This old-time Southern method of drying and preserving green beans and wax beans is a great organic way to store your bean crop for the winter.
By Grace V. Schillinger
November/December 1970
Add to My MSN

Pick your green or wax beans when they're tender and snappy. Wash them and snip off the stem end. The other little sharp pointed tip won't matter, so leave it on. Let the beans drain until fairly dry, or at least till the water has dripped off.
PHOTO: FOTOLIA/BLUESTOCK


Content Tools

Related Content

Tips on Preserving Autumn’s Garden Bounty

Simple suggestions on preserving vegetables and herbs

Preserving Tomatoes and Apples With a Homemade Solar Food Dryer

A homemade solar food dryer allows you to dry tomatoes and apples for delicious and nutritious winte...

Preserving Food Through Winter With a Homemade Root Pit

Judy Mimranek shares her father's time-tested tip for digging a root pit and covering it with layers...

How to Keep Fall Crops Fresh

Dig in to our wealth of food preservation resources to learn how to keep fall crops edible well into...

If you'd like to try preserving beans ("leather britches") in an old-time, way-down-south way, here's how to do it:

Pick your green or wax beans when they're tender and "snappy." Wash them and snip off the stem end. The other little sharp pointed tip won't matter, so leave it on. Let the beans drain until fairly dry, or at least till the water has dripped off.

Take a large darning needle and thread it with white store string. Kite string will do fine. Then thread your beans on the cord, sticking the needle through the middle of each bean. I don't mean down the center of the bean, just through the center, so both ends of the bean are loose.

Fasten the first bean by wrapping the string around it and making a knot so it won't pull through. Then go on stringing till your string's full. Fasten the last bean the same as the first one.

Dry the beans by hanging on a wire in a clean, dry place. An attic or unused room would be okay. Or hang them in your kitchen. They'll be gab grabbers, for sure! In the most high fallutin' magazines you'll see how decorators festoon rooms with the most unusual items. All right—go ahead with your leather britches!

The beans will become dry and wrinkled and you'll wonder what in the world you'll ever do with them, besides just letting them swing there.

In winter, take your dried beans down—several strings for a large kettle—and remove the strings. Rinse well, then put on to cook. When they boil up once, pour off the first water so you know they're clean and to remove any bitter taste. Then pour in fresh water, toss in a ham bone and an onion to keep the beans company and salt and pepper to taste. Cook till tender.

You'll come up with a mighty fine cold weather dish that'll stick to your ribs. These beans will remind you of long-ago years when folks had to preserve much of their food by drying.

Happy eating!








Post a comment below.

 

Darlene
8/29/2011 11:12:46 AM
Do you break the bean after they have dried?

gilrobinson_2
12/19/2009 4:54:08 PM
Anita, I can help with what to do with your Leather Britches once they are dry to store them because I used to help Grandma prepare them. You put them in a clean feed sack, sprinkle lightly with salt to keep the bugs out, tie the sack closed and hang it in the smoke house. Don't have a feed sack ? Just use a pillow case. Make sure you put the needle between the beans and not through one or it will rot. Gil

Darlene_3
1/9/2009 9:57:40 AM
I am looking for "leather britches", any one in the Lincoln, Gaston, Cleveland or Catawba county of North Carolina that can provide me with some of these.

Anita_2
8/10/2008 1:23:56 PM
Once the leather britches are dried - can you take them down and store them in the freezer - or is it best to 'just let them hang' until ready to use. Thanks

ned_1
7/1/2008 11:16:24 AM
Does anyone know what type of bean this could actually be....it was a very full green bean -mostly bean- was approx. the size of a white half runner. My parents called them peanut beans.....








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.