I’ve become very interested in growing beans and peas for soup in recent years. They are just another example of something you think is just fine from the supermarket…until the day that you taste a homegrown variety.
Amplissimo Viktoria is a soup pea that makes amazing, creamy, sweet hummus. Sadly, I mopped up every last bit of my stock last year with homemade pita bread, and Fedco was sold out by the time I ordered this season, so I planted black garbanzos instead.
True Red Cranberry is a pole bean whose seeds are truly beautiful–shiny, maroon, and bullet-shaped. They have a fantastic flavor, hold their shape when cooked, and generally make for the most delicious chili ever. I did save a few dozen of these, and I’m glad, because the whole world was sold out of them this spring.
The only downside to growing legumes for drying is harvesting them. It means literally hours of fishing around yellowed old vines looking for dried pods so you can then pop their seeds out into a jar. I find that children, tragically, can almost never be bribed to do this job for me.
So I was very amused the other day as I was planting something new called Hutterite Dry Bush Bean to read the Seeds of Change package and see that they recommended dancing the seeds out. I think the package might have mentioned swirling a pillowcase full of pods over your head–or am I making this up?–but the website has a photo of somebody stomping on bean pods in a pan as if they were wine grapes. Seeds of Change then recommends separating seeds from broken pods with a box fan.
Swirling, stomping, blowing. Clearly, another of those gardening jobs best done while stewed and preferably with equally silly friends.