How to Harvest and Dry Beans from the Garden

October 25, 2018

We tend to grow lots of beans in the garden and this year we tried a new variety, Chocolate Runner Beans. I absolutely adore growing these beans. They trellis well and are abundant.  You can eat the beans fresh from the vine or dry them for use later.  Today, I wanted to share with you how easy it is to dry beans. The process is actually pretty simple. To use the dried beans, soak them overnight in water and then try adding them to your favorite recipes.  Some of ours include soups.


Taking a quick peek inside the beans early in the drying process.

The chocolate runner beans are beautiful.  Ranging from purple, brown to white shades, they all taste the same and produce the same plant with heart-shaped red and pinkish white flowers. So cool, isn’t it? Just like eggs!

To dry beans, you will need to wait until the seed pods dry.  This is usually a few weeks after the beans are produced.  I typically leave the beans for drying on their stalks in the garden until the first frost.  Once the first frost arrives, it signals harvesting time to me.

Harvesting the beans from the stalks.

On a dry day, with your hands or a pair of garden sheers (these are my favorite ones), clip the bean from the vine.

Peel back the beans from the pods and discard any moldy ones. I leave my on a cookie sheet to complete the drying process.

dry beans Tillys nest
The beans are set out for drying for a couple of weeks before storing.

Store the dry beans in an airtight bag or mason jar until ready for use.  Be sure to save some beans to plant for next year.

Tilly's Nest- chocolate runner beans to dry
Don’t forget to save some dry beans to plant for next year’s growing season. You can directly sow them into the ground.


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6 thoughts on “How to Harvest and Dry Beans from the Garden”

  1. So it’s been a frost free and wet Fall in northern Minnesota. I had to harvest some beans before they were dry and mature, Some of them will dry in a pan in the window, but some are pretty immature. I thought of cooking them like green soybeans. Do you thing that would work? Or what?

    • I’m not sure that I have an answer for you on that one. I myself would continue to dry the beans as directed on the packaging. The drying process and cooking of the beans makes them safe to eat. Some beans can be toxic.

  2. I too have a question about dry beans not being fully mature on the vine. I live in Maine and we too have had a very wet year. I have Fast Lady Northern beans…a small white navy-bean sized bean. I have picked out pods that reached the yellow/brown stage, but have many more where the pods are still green and it’s almost November!

    Can I just pick these green pods and let them dry on a cookie sheet indoors, or do I really need to pull the whole plant to let them ‘finish’?

    • I think that you could definitely try to dry the green pods inside as long as they are mature size. My biggest concern would be molding, so be sure to keep them in a dry space. Let me know how it goes.


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Sharing an inspired life from the New England seaside. Chickens, Bees, Gardens, Art and Yummy Goodness.