Mature & Dry Green Beans

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When the green beans stopped tasting quite so good, we let them hang on the vines and mature.

By mid-October, some had dried out entirely and while most were still green.

We picked. And picked. And picked.

We pulled down and untangled the vines. They were climbing around hemp rope. We had to get that out because…

…the vines were destined for the sheep.

Yum, yum!

We split the bean bounty with our gardening friends Beth and Kerry. After about two hours of shelling, my half yielded 6 cups of beans from inside the pods. Not much yield for all that work, beginning with picking them, so was it worth it? I’m not sure. I know I don’t have regrets, though. 😉

Fresh, mature beans cook up in about half an hour. No soaking required (I don’t think). They’re fast, easy and delicious. Just add to soup or stew, let simmer and eat up. Our soup that night was delicious and included garden tomatoes, potatoes and zucchini, and crockpot chicken.

(The completely dried out beans are not shelled… yet.) The dried beans behave like … dried beans. I soak them before cooking, which will happen when I get them shelled. (Here are bean soaking and cooking instructions.)

Do you harvest mature green beans? Do you have any recipes or tips to share?

I’m sharing this post in Simple Lives Thursday.

This post may contain affiliate links. We only recommend products and services we wholeheartedly endorse. Thank you for supporting Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS with your purchases. Our family thanks you!


  1. Terri says

    Thanks, Wardee. I was stuck and now I have dinner planned. I have two huge bags of beans in the garage I didn’t know what to do with.

  2. Alicia says

    We didn’t save any green beans this year since last year I saved over 200 seeds for replanting. I’ve never eaten the mature beans out of the pod-never even thought of it :)
    We did grow 3 varieties of dry beans this year, each yielding about 2 cups. I was disappointed that it would only be able to provide enough to contribute to a meal each, ah well next year I will have to plan differently.
    I do have a question, I just came in from picking some blue podded peas that are for dry pea use. I planted a second planting of them just to see if I could. They will not be able to dry out on the vine, so how should I dry out the ones I picked? And what should I do with the ones that won’t even mature?

    • says

      Alicia — To dry the ones that have matured, it is best to hang them somewhere where they can have good airflow, otherwise they start to mold and mildew. Or you could shell them and put the beans on a tray to dry out (or even a dehydrator).

      If the beans inside are not developed, there’s not much you can do about that. We had lots that hadn’t fully developed and they went to the sheep. :)

    • says

      Jeanne — Isn’t it cool? :) They taste like really-super-good beans. Imagine a soup made with Great Northern or navy beans, only these have an element of freshness. They’re super!

  3. says

    Was it worth it? I think so. I know it was a lot of work but….

    you are teaching your kids something wonderful about food and where it comes from,
    you fed your family Gods wholesome fresh nutritious food,
    you cleaned up and nourished your garden for the next plant,
    you got lots of healthy Vitamin D and exercise
    you had some fun family time,
    you gave your sheep a treat, and
    you helped save the earth. :-)

    All good stuff. I think you are awesome! Wish I was your neighbour!
    Love Deb

  4. says

    I haven’t tried the mature green beans yet. For some reason I thought they wouldn’t be very tasty. I did shell a ton of dried ones. Well, not a ton actually. I am saving this years seeds to plant for next year.
    Have you ever tried growing the Chinese Long Bean? I am in love with those. They are really good for stir fry. There are many ways to use them because they can be cut. Plus the plant looks cool.

    • says

      They might! We’ve had ‘volunteer’ green beans a few times.. Trouble is, we rotate crops, so we don’t really need pole bean plants in the carrot bed! :) (not that I’m very inclined to rip out a ‘good’ plant, however. 😛 )

  5. says

    Oh wow! I had no clue you could do that with green beans! We’re going to be getting our garden in gear next year (this one was too busy to get anything planted after the move in August) and I am so excited after being in an apartment for a few years. It’s great to be able to still use things that otherwise people go ahead and tear up (my granny and papa always plow their beans up before the vines get good and finished).

  6. says

    I harvest green beans when they’re good for steaming. We don’t really care for the mature still-moist seeds. Maybe ’cause we want to avoid the work, lol. 😉

  7. says

    Do you save any to plant? My market-gardener friend says beans usually don’t cross-pollinate much (even when I told her I had 2 kinds in the same row). Of course, they’d have to be open-pollinated kinds, not F1 hybrids and such.

    One year I took black beans from my pantry and planted a big patch of them. At the end, after pulling plants, ‘threshing’ the dried pods, etc. I came out with about twice what I’d put in (I had a lot of plant failure in the rows)… Not really worth the $0.89 value I gained, probably. 😀

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