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Calling all bean enthusiasts!

 
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https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qnx3/episodes/downloads

For those of you who are truly passionate about beans - the British Radio 4 has two programmes - one just out, link above, and one next week - focussing on beans, with a European focus.  

I'm featured in the first programme talking about my new book - Growing Beans: A diet for healthy people and planet.  In this book I'm hoping to persuade gardeners to grow beans - for shelling to eat fresh, or freezing and drying to store.  It gives all the information plus introductions to some wonderful European beans.  

I'm particularly passionate about eating fresh beans - just as we eat peas - straight from the pod.  I aim to have beans growing in my UK climate garden from August through to the first frosts of Autumn - picking fresh beans to eat just as they are.  Totally delicious.   In Italy and France, fresh beans are sold in the vegetable markets in their pods to take home and shell - they are a common sight.  But we don't have that market garden and culinary tradition in the UK.  

 
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In INDIA, We eat beans daily that is main protein source. I love to grow beans because it fixes nitrogen in the soil and nourish the companion plants too
 
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Thanks for sharing! I'll listen to that today, at work.

As a long-time vegetarian (now more flexible), my diet is pretty bean heavy. I think they are a wonderful foodstuff. The fact that they nourish the soil is a bonus, in my opinion.

One big gripe that I have is how difficult it can be to find home-grown peas and beans. Hodmedod's is a fantastic company that you might be aware of - they pioneered, I believe, UK-grown quinoa - but I rarely see anything but UK-grown peas available elsewhere, excluding farmers' markets.

I am establishing a large growing area this year and, all being well, would like to grow a large number of storing beans next year which I will make available for sale locally.
 
Susan Young
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Luke Mitchell wrote:Thanks for sharing! I'll listen to that today, at work.

As a long-time vegetarian (now more flexible), my diet is pretty bean heavy. I think they are a wonderful foodstuff. The fact that they nourish the soil is a bonus, in my opinion.

One big gripe that I have is how difficult it can be to find home-grown peas and beans. Hodmedod's is a fantastic company that you might be aware of - they pioneered, I believe, UK-grown quinoa - but I rarely see anything but UK-grown peas available elsewhere, excluding farmers' markets.

I am establishing a large growing area this year and, all being well, would like to grow a large number of storing beans next year which I will make available for sale locally.




I know Hodmedod's - agree, fantastic company - we were chatting Sunday morning when the first beans programme was on, sharing various bean-related thoughts and information.  

I'd be really interested to know what varieties of storing beans you will be growing - and bravo for making them available locally for sale.  As I was discussing with Josiah of Hodmedod's - the cultivation of storing beans on any large scale creates challenges - partly getting them to a drying stage before the Autumn closes in, and partly how to support them.  I think there are dwarf varieties which would be easier - they come to harvest earlier, tend to dry all at the same time.  

There will be a Guardian Sat Supplement article too on April 23rd - by Alys Fowler, all about beans.  So I think there's a rise of interest currently.  

If you're interested to have a book btw -
 
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Hello Susan, and welcome to Permies!
Thanks for sharing that link. I'll have to listen to that when I've got a few minutes quiet...I've only succeeded in growing beans in my polytunnel here on Skye so far, but I'm hoping to get at least broad beans and runner beans growing outside with my landrace schemes...the French beans maybe pushing it, but I'll try with transplants and see how they do.
 
Luke Mitchell
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Susan Young wrote:I know Hodmedod's - agree, fantastic company - we were chatting Sunday morning when the first beans programme was on, sharing various bean-related thoughts and information.



Ah, very interesting! I've just downloaded the programme so I look forward to getting into it!

Susan Young wrote:I'd be really interested to know what varieties of storing beans you will be growing - and bravo for making them available locally for sale.  As I was discussing with Josiah of Hodmedod's - the cultivation of storing beans on any large scale creates challenges - partly getting them to a drying stage before the Autumn closes in, and partly how to support them.  I think there are dwarf varieties which would be easier - they come to harvest earlier, tend to dry all at the same time.



I've not decided on a particular variety yet. I've got a few varieties from Real Seeds (Serpette Guilloteau peas, Yin Yang which are stunning) and I've traded for some others (unknown varieties of butter bean and kidney beans) which I'll be trialing this year. Ideally I would source some varieties which were grown here traditionally so if anyone knows of a source for traditional Welsh legumes, please let me know! Some neighbours were telling us about their success with edamame just the other day so that is an option too.

I appreciate the difficulty in drying and storing too. I have a vague intention to build a large solar-drying rack but that's a little way off at the moment. Certainly we are a hotter, drier area than much of Britain which should work in my favour.

Susan Young wrote:If you're interested to have a book btw



I am actually, any chance on a link?
 
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Welcome to Permies Susan!  I have lived in Ohio my whole life and green beans are the most used on our homestead.  I started with blue lake years ago and just save the seeds.  They produce from mid June till mid September for us.  We eat them many times a week.

My mother always grew kidney beans and canned them.  She made bean soup and chili with them.  After being pressure canned and then cooked for many hours in a pot my body will still not digest them.  Do you have any idea on how to prepare them better?  What is the most digestible bean?  My wife and I would like to grow more types of beans for storage if we could find one that I agree with.
 
Susan Young
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Welsh beans - there is the District Nurse, a bean from the Welsh Valleys just above Cardiff.  It's a small pinto - very hardy and crops early.  I write about it in Growing Beans.  Heritage Seed Library usually have it.  I have some I could send you if you wanted.  

They have the book featured here on Permies - but I'm not familiar enough, yet, with the site to know how I can cross-ref the link.  I have copies to sell.  Is there a way of messaging one another here?  

Veitch's climber - is UK wide bean.  Nice bean a bit like a kidney bean, but without the toxin levels of kidney beans, so I much prefer it.

I've spotted a Kew Blue in a Belgian listing which is supposed to be English - might have to try and get that one.  Otherwise I'm starting to explore old gardening books to see what they grew.  Dutch Brown used to be grown in UK, especially during the war.  It's a tough cropper, but a bit starchy.  I used to be enthusiastic about it.  Now I'm less so - my love for certain beans changes almost every year.  

As for peas - I'm trialling all the Hodmedod's ones to see what grows well domestically - plus some other dried peas I found.  

I'm a fan of Real Seeds btw.

Staff note (Carla Burke) :

Susan's bok can be found here: https://permies.com/wiki/175295/Growing-Beans-Susan-Young

 
Susan Young
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Nancy Reading wrote:Hello Susan, and welcome to Permies!
Thanks for sharing that link. I'll have to listen to that when I've got a few minutes quiet...I've only succeeded in growing beans in my polytunnel here on Skye so far, but I'm hoping to get at least broad beans and runner beans growing outside with my landrace schemes...the French beans maybe pushing it, but I'll try with transplants and see how they do.



I would suggest you try to get hold of some of the Dutch Beans from North Netherlands - Friesland.  They are tough growing in that North Sea climate and they are mostly dwarf which are going to crop more quickly.  I think the problem is that it's not at all easy to obtain the shelling bean varieties that are hardy in the UK - there hasn't been the demand, so seed catalogues are not carrying them.  Obviously buying seed from Europe is tricky because of regulations preventing import.  I probably shouldn't post publicly on how it can be done.  

I am also getting South German, Austrian beans from Pat Kaiser in Southern Germany - and they are often mountain varieties, that can cope with colder climate.  Maria Zeller cropped in just a few weeks for me - and the beans were huge and wonderful white and ruby speckled coloured.  

I'd certainly try dwarf varieties first of all - to obtain the beans for shelling - as they'd crop more quickly, and then you might have to pick and dry indoors in the Autumn.  
 
Susan Young
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Christopher Shepherd wrote:Welcome to Permies Susan!  I have lived in Ohio my whole life and green beans are the most used on our homestead.  I started with blue lake years ago and just save the seeds.  They produce from mid June till mid September for us.  We eat them many times a week.

My mother always grew kidney beans and canned them.  She made bean soup and chili with them.  After being pressure canned and then cooked for many hours in a pot my body will still not digest them.  Do you have any idea on how to prepare them better?  What is the most digestible bean?  My wife and I would like to grow more types of beans for storage if we could find one that I agree with.





First of all kidney beans contain the highest quantity by far of a toxin that all beans have - and if the soaking water isn't discarded, the toxin can remain.  So that could explain the digestive issues.  So don't grow kidney beans - or cannellini for that matter (they are a white kidney bean).  Then in the book I include a whole section on how to prepare beans for best digestion.  ! - so that's a good reason to buy the book!    Some of the tips would be - to start with a few beans and gradually build up, little by little, so that your gut can accumulate the bacteria that are part of the digestive process.  Prepare in a certain way (lots to say here and the book explains) - be certain to give them a hard boil for 10 minutes at least - the hard boil is necessary to neutralise any toxin (I wonder if the pressure canning process didn't actually raise them to high enough temperature?) - cook with certain added ingredients that aid digestion.  Chucking away the soaking water can help too.  And yes, maybe also start with fresh beans, podded straight from the shell - rather than drying and then soaking etc.  Fresh beans seem to be really easy to digest.

 
Luke Mitchell
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Susan Young wrote:Welsh beans - there is the District Nurse, a bean from the Welsh Valleys just above Cardiff.  It's a small pinto - very hardy and crops early.  I write about it in Growing Beans.  Heritage Seed Library usually have it.  I have some I could send you if you wanted.  

They have the book featured here on Permies - but I'm not familiar enough, yet, with the site to know how I can cross-ref the link.  I have copies to sell.  Is there a way of messaging one another here?  

Veitch's climber - is UK wide bean.  Nice bean a bit like a kidney bean, but without the toxin levels of kidney beans, so I much prefer it.

I've spotted a Kew Blue in a Belgian listing which is supposed to be English - might have to try and get that one.  Otherwise I'm starting to explore old gardening books to see what they grew.  Dutch Brown used to be grown in UK, especially during the war.  It's a tough cropper, but a bit starchy.  I used to be enthusiastic about it.  Now I'm less so - my love for certain beans changes almost every year.  

As for peas - I'm trialling all the Hodmedod's ones to see what grows well domestically - plus some other dried peas I found.



Great suggestions, thank you!

I had a dig through my seed collection just now and have planted most of them into trays. I don't have a huge amount of windowsill space here - and no greenhouse or polytunnel yet - but I guess beans get priority as I'm feeling inspired.

I've sown some old, heritage seed that I bought in Ladakh, northern India, from the Womens' Institute there. I'm not sure what species they are so it will be interesting to see how they develop. I also planted the dwarf French 'Yin Yang' (beautiful, I've attached a photo), the Serpette climbing peas and some purple runners from a friend a few years back.

I'm now going to try and hunt out some of the varieties you mentioned. If you do have enough District Nurse to share some, I'd love to take you up on that offer. I'll send you a message and we can arrange a swap or similar.
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Thank you for the link Susan!  I'll be stuck in a hospital waiting room tomorrow and at least I'll have something enjoyable to listen to!
 
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Christopher Shepherd wrote: What is the most digestible bean?  My wife and I would like to grow more types of beans for storage if we could find one that I agree with.




From my experience, Beefy Resilient Beans are the most digestible. They aren't very common yet, but I'm working on changing that.

They also are the bean that tastes the least "beany". The flavor is 100% umami. If used in savory dishes, they taste like beef, hence the name. If used in sweet dishes, the flavor is more subtle, but it gives the dish an added depth and richness, similar to what you'd get from adding whey or almond milk.

If eaten at the snap bean stage, they are probably the sweetest bean I've ever encountered.
 
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Susan Young wrote:

- the hard boil is necessary to neutralise any toxin (I wonder if the pressure canning process didn't actually raise them to high enough temperature?) -




Pressure canning uses temperatures higher than boiling water is capable of getting. That's why it's used.
 
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Even with a pressure canner you are not supposed to can pureed pumpkin or refried beans.  The food is too dense to be sure the center gets high enough for safety.  Is it possible for that to happen when canning whole beans?  It hasn't come up for me as I store my beans dry.
 
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Casie Becker wrote:Even with a pressure canner you are not supposed to can pureed pumpkin or refried beans.  The food is too dense to be sure the center gets high enough for safety.  Is it possible for that to happen when canning whole beans?  It hasn't come up for me as I store my beans dry.



If it was happening with whole beans, you'd be more in danger of botulism than bean toxins. And no canning book would be reckless enough to recommend it. Whole beans have enough space between them to allow liquid to circulate, which allows the heat to reach where it needs. If you think your pressure canner isn't getting the beans hot enough to destroy the toxin, then you need to get it checked, because the bean toxin is easier to destroy than botulism spores. And botulism will kill you a lot faster.
 
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Ellendra Nauriel wrote:

Christopher Shepherd wrote: What is the most digestible bean?  My wife and I would like to grow more types of beans for storage if we could find one that I agree with.




From my experience, Beefy Resilient Beans are the most digestible. They aren't very common yet, but I'm working on changing that.

They also are the bean that tastes the least "beany". The flavor is 100% umami. If used in savory dishes, they taste like beef, hence the name. If used in sweet dishes, the flavor is more subtle, but it gives the dish an added depth and richness, similar to what you'd get from adding whey or almond milk.

If eaten at the snap bean stage, they are probably the sweetest bean I've ever encountered.



This is interesting about the snap bean stage.  I have a few seeds of this grex to try this year from a seed swap so it will be interesting to see if they will work in our short season.  
 
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We're expanding our bean garden to increase our homemade stash. Because we are off grid,  having protein dried on the shelf is super important aaaand exciting! I'm in love with black valentine and an italian heritage bean called gialette. Orcas (yinyang like those pictured above) were fun but not as prolific.
One thing I've noticed is that my Bush beans are becoming half-pole beans as the years go on. Does anyone know why that is?
20211002_162916.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20211002_162916.jpg]
 
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Hi Susan. I was interested to read about the Beefy Resilient Beans - I have never heard of them and have never grown a mixed bean like that before. They sounds delicious. Even though they have a wide range of appearance, they taste the same?

I found some and ordered them to try just for fun. As I understand it, I don't have to worry about them crossing with the purple pole beans I normally grow? Or the dried pole bean to grow in corn that I also ordered on impulse while I was on the resilient seeds website?

Thanks,
Kelly

 
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Hi Susan,

Glad you're on Permies.  

Beans (legumes) are one of my favorite crops to grow.  Living in SW Oklahoma, we have a very long growing season. Have grown pinto, Calypso (YinYang) and black eye peas.

Since our temps reach over 100 degrees during the summer, we have to pour the water to all our crops. I use straw hay as a mulch. Any other ideas for mulch? Compost is hard to keep going due to the high temps.  How about a sunshade cloth type structure?

I have listened to the podcast. Excellent!  Thank you!

Barry
 
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Kelly Pakes wrote:Hi Susan. I was interested to read about the Beefy Resilient Beans - I have never heard of them and have never grown a mixed bean like that before. They sounds delicious. Even though they have a wide range of appearance, they taste the same?

I found some and ordered them to try just for fun. As I understand it, I don't have to worry about them crossing with the purple pole beans I normally grow? Or the dried pole bean to grow in corn that I also ordered on impulse while I was on the resilient seeds website?

Thanks,
Kelly



There is a chance they'll cross, but it's a very, very small chance.
 
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Thank you Susan for your part in helping folks get away from so much animal protein. I've enjoyed growing beans for use fresh and dried, but have not yet tried many varieties: will likely do that this year, and soon, as I think we're looking at another year where staples may be tricky to come by.
 
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I'm enjoying this topic!
We eat plant-based and lots of beans lately.
I planted out a good deal of beans this last week: black, adzuki, pinto, tiger's eye, chickpeas. I've also got borlotti and Dragon's Tongue for fresh eating/dry beans. My daughter loves noodle beans so I planted them to grow up a big tipi-like trellis. Should be fun picking. They are purple and always over a foot long!
I'm also trying Japanese winged beans this year for fun, and Sword bean (which is just huge). Oh, and scarlet runners. I'm kind of trying a lot of different types to see what does best here. This is a first year garden location, so I figured beans could thrive while I'm working up the soil richness for other future crops.
Beans are amazing! Such a great crop to grow and easy to store in jars. Love it
 
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