Sunday, September 12, 2010

Getting plastered and drying beans

No that's not a reference to our intake over the weekend but the fact that Thea's bedroom ceiling is getting insulated and plastered ready for the winter.

Brendan is doing the standing on the ladder with the fiddly trowel part and I am doing the wipe the bits of wet plaster off everything and clean up all the plaster dust, wash everything down and try to tidy it up part.

A fair division of labour.

That just leaves the hall above the stairs to be plastered now.

Inbetween times I managed to get some lovely macro shots done on Saturday so some time to upload and sort those out needs to be found this week.

Today, just before the weather broke for a storm I managed to get half of my borlotti bean harvest in.

I grow french stringless beans every year until they get too numerous to pick and then I leave them on the plants to form haricot beans that I can dry and use over winter, but I also grow a specific crop of borlottis.

I much prefer these to any others, they are a fantastically hardy plant that has a prolific harvest and seems happy in any old soil.

Plus they look really pretty too.

I find that the best way to conserve them for the winter is to store them as dried beans, and the best method as far as I am concerned is to let them dry out on the plant itself.

Just pull the plant up when it has died back and all the pods are dry and you can hear the beans rattling around inside.

Pick them, spread them out in the sun for a couple of hours after picking then store in an air tight kilner jar or similar.

I wash the jars thoroughly then to make sure they are bone dry and bacteria free I stick them in the oven to dry for 20 minutes (alongside a cauliflower cheese dish this time), then put the lids on loosely and leave to cool.  Don't try to put the beans into a hot jar they will sizzle and smoke and burn.

To make sure that your beans will stay nice and healthy all through the winter, first leave them outside on a tray to dry in the sun for a couple of hours as mentioned above - this drys and hardens the skins and lets all the little bugs that may have been in the pod or on the plant get far away.  Then ensure you only try to dry and keep healthy beans, any that have discolouration or feel squishy or damp should not be kept in a jar over winter - they will pollute all the other beans and ruin your harvest.

Here is my little helper - making sure any beans that I reject get a good scoffing and don't go to waste.

Just behind her you can see the first lot of pumpkins almost ready for picking.

Right back to cleaning Thea's florr before she gets home and realises what a huge mess we have made in  her bedroom.

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Mumma Troll said...

What a beautiful chicken and those pumpkins look

BeMistified said...

Wow @ the beans, that just amazes me what people can grow and harvest. Ms. Chicken is awesome and the pumpkins marvelous.