Wednesday 20 August 2014

Borlotti Beans: Different Levels of Maturity

I made a few mistakes growing borlotti beans last year ... I purchased the seeds without really understanding that they were intended to be "dried beans".  I ate many of them while still green as if they were french beans.  Tasty, by the way, but not what they are intended for.  And when I finally harvested them, I was a bit on the early side. 

I got some advice and waited longer this year.  Not sure if I have it quite down pat yet! These were harvested as soon as I got home tonight (lots of rain coming).  About seven pounds!

I immediately started to pop the beans from the pods.  Luckily I was close to my computer and, while opening some pods, I decided to check on the drying method. I was actually looking for how to dry the beans ... only to discover that the pods should be left to dry before removing the beans!  Oh boy, so much to learn.

In the meantime, I had already opened a few to test the readiness - these pics should help me next year to know when to harvest.  

Definitely the drier they are, the darker the colour.  These pods are so dry, I was thinking they seemed "mummified".  The colour of the beans is a deep purple.

But some of these older beans have a brown spot where the beans were attached to the pod.  Is that bad??

These ones were not quite as dry, but certainly well on their way.  Hard to tell from the picture but they are more crimson than the deep purple.

These three brighter pink pods were obviously at different maturity levels considering the beans inside.

There were many pods that were "mummified" - totally wrinkled, with some so dry the beans were already rattling.  So I went ahead and opened them up.  I so love the colours!!  The rest are spread out on some newspaper to dry for a week or so ...


  1. Those beans are gorgeous! I'm definitely adding them to my must try list.

    1. Unfortunately when they are cooked, they turn brownish, but very tasty!

  2. Very pretty. And there is nothing wrong with harvesting them before they are dry. But then it is best to use them soon for cooking instead of for storage. They cook up really fast at that stage. You can dry partially dry beans though. I've done it when I didn't want to cook with them, but was ripping out the plants.

    1. OK, so if not dried enough and I'm not ready to cook, I guess I'll just freeze them to be safe rather than trying to dry store them. Good to know ...