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Dried Heirloom Beans

January 19th, 2010

I really like dried beans of all shapes and sizes. They make hearty warming soups in the winter and wonderful salads in the summer. I usually buy my beans in bulk at the local health food store, but when I can find them locally I buy them up. Last year I bought a few pints of dried mixed beans at my local farmers market, they were wonderful. Sadly, I was only able to buy a few pounds, not nearly enough for all year.

A few weeks ago, I was able to find some dried beans at the Local Roots Market. They’re beautiful beans. I got a pound each of “Jade”, “Maxibelle”, and “Dragon Tongue”. I may save a few of each to plant in the garden this summer.

I decided to make a simple bean soup from the “Jade” beans. I have some bacon in the fridge, a few onions in the pantry and some dried sage that will pair wonderfully for a simple bean soup.

I usually soak beans for about 24 hours before cooking them (I add a tablespoon or two of cider vinegar to the soaking water). These beans will be on the stove all day today, simmering away into a warming winter soup. Not only is this a delicious winter meal, but it’s healthy and inexpensive!

Are beans eaten in your household? What’s you’re favorite way to eat them?

33 Comments to “Dried Heirloom Beans”
  1. Erika on January 19, 2010 at 7:15 am

    Surprisingly enough my very picky eater loves beans. It has taken me many years of finally like them. And for him to actually like them when his list of foods he actually will eat is very small.

    We eat them alot since they are cheap and I will make big batches and he will eat it for days afterwards.

    We live in southern MS and cajun food is all around us so red beans and rice, which I make with white beans as well. refried beans many different ways, black beans same way, Bean, Barley, Potato soup, and alot of times I just start out with a bean and just start throwing things into the pot and see what we come up with. Whatever flavor I am craving that day.

    My son tends to love it no matter what. But he will pick out onions, peppers, you know the good stuff.

    .-= Erika´s last blog ..Dishes =-.

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  2. Deb on January 19, 2010 at 8:38 am

    YUM!! I love bean soup, but the family doesn’t like it so much. Lovely photos :)

    Reply to Deb's comment

  3. tigress on January 19, 2010 at 8:45 am

    we eat beans at least 3 times a week. i don’t eat meat so eating lentils and beans is something that i need regularly in my diet. my very favorite way to make them is indian dal – there are so many different flavored dals. depending on the region of india, the spices are entirely different.

    i also love hummus which can be made with many other beans besides chickpeas…and bean soup, and bean salads.

    i love beans! :)
    .-= tigress´s last blog ..mastering the art of 2010 =-.

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    • Susy on January 19, 2010 at 9:51 am

      I too love dal! Especially made with red lentils – MMMMM.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  4. Helen at Toronto Gardens on January 19, 2010 at 9:08 am

    I’m also very partial to beans in any form. Though I should note: my mother-in-law’s family recipe for baked beans French-Canadian style is not only delicious, it should be harnessed as a major source of natural gas… best if the whole family enjoys it together.

    Don’t remember ever reading about adding vinegar to the beans, Susy – what’s the benefit of doing that?
    .-= Helen at Toronto Gardens´s last blog ..GGW Picture This: Melt your cold, cold heart =-.

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    • Susy on January 19, 2010 at 9:53 am

      I’ve read that soaking overnight with some vinegar helps reduce the the amount of gas caused by the beans. It also reduces the phytates in beans and grains making them more digestible and it makes the nutrients more available for your body to absorb.

      here’s some additional info:

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Chicago Mike on January 19, 2010 at 12:55 pm

        That is one useful piece of information. Thanks!
        .-= Chicago Mike´s last blog ..Garden Plans =-.

        to Chicago Mike's comment

  5. Rhonda on January 19, 2010 at 9:48 am

    I love beans. I especially love my mother’s pinto bean soup with ham hocks and chopped onion sprinkled on top served with her homemade cornbread baked in her great grandmother’s cast iron skillet. MMMMmmmm.

    I don’t make beans at home because, unfortunately, I am married to a man who goes into dry heaves at the mere thought of even touching a bean or a pea. I love him dearly, he’s my “geek-equal” but his weird food fears and uber food pickyness, I could do without. :-)

    Reply to Rhonda's comment

  6. Justin on January 19, 2010 at 9:49 am

    I halso appened upon some somewhat local beans the other day at my farmer’s market in Rhode Island. Our local market organizers sell products from farms that can’t be there or from elsewhere in New England. That day, they were selling “Yellow-eyed beans” from Freedom Bean Farm in Maine.

    They’re interesting…like black-eyed peas, but yellow with whiter skin. Can’t wait to make them, maybe in a soup…
    .-= Justin´s last blog ..New Toy: Indoor Composter =-.

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  7. Kelly on January 19, 2010 at 10:05 am

    I’m going to be trying to grow Dragon Tongue beans this year in my garden! I’ve never grown beans for drying, so it’s a first. If it goes well I’ll be looking for other types (we’re also trying Scarlett Runner), but i’ve heard good things about Dragon Tongue’s flavour. If you don’t mind, when you have them could you let us know how they taste?
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Chest Cold =-.

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  8. kitsapFG on January 19, 2010 at 10:18 am

    I grew Jade last year as a bush green bean and saved some seed – not for eating but for future seed stock. The last time I grew dried beans was in 2007 and so I am reserving room in the garden this year for dried beans – pinto and large red kidney beans. The pinto beans are a half runner and will be planted among the corn patch so they can use the corn stalks for support.

    We eat dried beans probably once a week on average. Just had some yesterday (dry small navy beans) in a turkey/vegetable minestrone soup.

    Reply to kitsapFG's comment

  9. Andrea on January 19, 2010 at 10:34 am

    I love Local Roots Market, we just became members last month. It’s such a great way to buy local as well as meet so many other great people in the area. I can’t wait until this season really gets going and the shelves are stocked with fresh produce.

    Reply to Andrea's comment

  10. Jaspenelle on January 19, 2010 at 11:18 am

    I love (and that may be an understatement) heirloom beans, both snap and dry, though when I grow them I tend to lean towards pole varieties. I like heirlooms because they are seeds with a history, so my favorite bean at the moment might be Cherokee Trail. Not only are they tasty and shiny black but they also have a story (one of the seeds carried by the Cherokee over the Trail of Tears.)

    Even with my love of beans my recipes with them are a little limited, other then in soup and some Mexican food I do not use them for much else. I never thought of using them cold in a salad, do you still fully cook and cool them for that?
    .-= Jaspenelle´s last blog ..15/365: Hope =-.

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    • Susy on January 19, 2010 at 11:33 am

      Oh they’re fantastic cold or room temp in the summer as a side dish. I like to make a light vinaigrette for them with fresh herbs, lemon juice, a splash of vinegar and some olive oil. They’re even more delicious if you let them marinade overnight. I often adjust the flavor to the type of bean.

      For black beans, cilantro, lime juice, diced pepper and onions make a wonderful black bean salsa.

      I love white beans with some fresh rosemary, lemon juice and olive oil, sometimes topped with some freshly grated Parmesan.

      Garbanzos are good with lemon juice, parsley, some red pepper and toasted herbs like cumin seeds or you can cook them up like this:

      Reply to Susy's comment

    • Justin on January 19, 2010 at 3:11 pm

      I too would love some more recipes.

      I’ve never been a fan of “tex-mex flavors,” so the typical recipes out there involving cilantro, cumin, etc., don’t appeal to me. I’m also not a fan of the assertive flavor of black beans, no matter how they’re prepared. Being French-Canadian, we always ate navy beans in the classic “Boston” style (molasses & brown sugar) or plain with salt, pepper, and salt pork in the cooking liquid. I have a “Tuscan-Style” bean soup recipe that I make often involving rosemary. My wife loves that one. I also enjoy a good yellow split-pea soup.

      If anyone has any other recipes for beans…salads, unique soups, etc., that work with white, kidney, or other non-black beans, I’d personally love to hear them. I’m sure others would too.

      Thanks, Susy, for an awesome post!
      .-= Justin´s last blog ..New Toy: Indoor Composter =-.

      Reply to Justin's comment

  11. warren on January 19, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    We love the beans in our house! We have several soup recipes with beans. I also like them with a strip of bacon and then served with kraut…simple and awesome I think
    .-= warren´s last blog ..Blossom Deli saved my life =-.

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  12. Michelle on January 19, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    I love making beans in the winter…one of my favorite recipes is one I learned from my grandmother…pinto beans, an onion, a hamhock, italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Soak overnight…simmer all day…eat with cornbread or warm sourdough!
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..through the rain… =-.

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  13. MAYBELLINE on January 19, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Beans. Beans. The magical fruit…

    We love them. I’ve never grown beans for drying and look forward to following your lesson.
    .-= MAYBELLINE´s last blog ..Winter Garden – California Style =-.

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  14. Sara on January 19, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    I love beans but I admit I sometimes have a hard time thinking of creative ways to use them (other than soup, chili, or something resembling a side dish). I just got mark bittman’s How to cook everything vegetarian and while I haven’t gotten to browse the bean section I bet it will be great.

    Those Jade beans look to me like flageolets, which I love!
    .-= Sara´s last blog ..Birthday Potholders – Amy Butler Style =-.

    Reply to Sara's comment

    • Chicago Mike on January 19, 2010 at 1:01 pm

      I seem to remember that has a LONG list of bean recipes as part of their efforts to encourage beans, and then there are some more unusual ones. Search “bean patty” or “bean patties”. They can be seasoned middle eastern, caribbean, thai, etc. If you can perfect keeping them together there is a LOT you can do with them.

      With Best Regards.
      .-= Chicago Mike´s last blog ..Garden Plans =-.

      Reply to Chicago Mike's comment

  15. the inadvertent farmer on January 19, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Being vegan we eat a LOT of beans. I just made my first batch of refried beans…recipe still needs some tweaking but I’m on the right path. Used a slow cooker…took almost two day! Kim
    .-= the inadvertent farmer´s last blog ..The finished small Kitchen remodel and budget =-.

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  16. The Local Cook on January 19, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    Why yes we do eat beans, in fact I just wrote a post about how I finally tried the crockpot method of cooking them :-)
    .-= The Local Cook´s last blog ..Pantry Essentials: All About Beans =-.

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  17. Lindsey S on January 19, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    perfect timing for this post :)

    I’ve been looking into bean recipes lately and found a white bean soup w/ kale on allrecipes which looks tempting.

    I, too, am planning on growing dragon tongue’s this year, along with cherokee trail of tears and hutterite soup (how perfect!) this will be my first year growing beans. the plan is to dry the hutterites for soups, and cherokee too, and some dragon’s.

    my roommates and i don’t really eat beans that much, unless in chili, which is rare even then. So it’d be a good thing to have some outdoors to eat fresh, or the dry ones to use later on. I think I might go see if my local co-op has dry beans now :)


    and the Jades are gorgeous!!!
    .-= Lindsey S´s last blog ..Choose Your Scent Avocado Damask Muscle Relief Bag =-.

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  18. Dan on January 19, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    Dry beans are my obsession this season! I am trying some many of them, tiger’s eye, borlotto, soldier, true red cranberry, vermont cranberry & trail of tears and that is the paired down list. I will be growing dragon tongue beans again this year, I never tried them as a shelly though, I will have to this year.
    .-= Dan´s last blog ..Harvest Monday, Winter Version =-.

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  19. Striving for a Simple Life on January 19, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    I grew up on bean soup (made with pinto beans) and corn bread.

    I haven’t made them in years, but after reading your post, I may cook up a batch while it’s still cold here. :-)
    .-= Striving for a Simple Life´s last blog ..What’s Cooking Tonight? =-.

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  20. Melissa on January 19, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    Beans are a staple on our table year round. It’s one of the few vegetables that we all agree on.

    I’m trying my hand at drying my own beans this year. Just made a purchase over at seed savers for Cherokee Trail and Good Mother Stollard. I have in my inventory Cow Peas (aka pinkeye purple hull – grows well in our clay soil), Fordhook limas, Henderson’s baby limas, and many different “green beans” for snapping. I also purchased the book Seed to Seed to help me out.

    We just moved to our very own 10 acre farm (yippie!) a few months ago, so this will be our first experience with a big garden. We had raised beds on our 1 acre lot last year. I’m a little nervous, but excited nonetheless.
    .-= Melissa´s last blog ..Making Farmer Kim’s Apple Cake =-.

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  21. Melissa on January 19, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    Oh, and to your question… we eat them many ways, but usually just seasoned with bacon, onion, and sea salt. I use whatever is leftover for a soup later. My grandmother taught me to save my leftover vegetables in a large container in the freezer and make vegetable soup (with or without meat) when it’s full. A good frugal tip.
    .-= Melissa´s last blog ..Making Farmer Kim’s Apple Cake =-.

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  22. Leigh on January 20, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    I am definitely planning to plant beans for drying. The hardest part is choosing which variety. I’d like to plant several but am concerned about cross-pollination since i save my seeds. Any suggestions?

    Reply to Leigh's comment

  23. stefaneener on January 20, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Mmmmm, beans and kale. Two of our favorites. I wish I had enough space to grow dried beans. I actually prefer them to green, mostly.

    Reply to stefaneener's comment

  24. Great Bean Recipes | Chiot's Run on January 21, 2010 at 4:46 am

    […] of you requested recipes for ways to cook beans after I posted about scoring some local dried heirloom beans the day before yesterday. So I thought I’d share a few of my favorites. I really like to eat […]

    Reply to Great Bean Recipes | Chiot’s Run's comment

  25. […] 6, 2010 by chiotsrun After I posted about scoring some local dried heirloom beans a while ago I had a lot of request for bean recipes. Since beans are a perfect food choice for the […]

    Reply to Dried Bean Recipes for the Real Food Challenge « Not Dabbling In Normal's comment

  26. Sue on March 26, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    I will be growing beans for the first time this year. I have organic dried pinto and northern beans that I purchased for cooking. Can I plant these beans or do I need to purchase heirloom beans? Thank you!

    Reply to Sue's comment

    • Susy on March 26, 2011 at 1:44 pm

      You could try, but it depends on how long your growing season it in your climate. Some beans need a long season to develop into dried beans. Beans also lose viability rather quickly, so it’s usually best to start with fresh beans each season. If you live in a northern climate you might be better off growing a few heirlooms that will mature in your short season. I have Low’s Champion that do well in my northern climate and would be a good alternative to pinto. I would assume the Northern beans would grow in a northern climate by the name. You can try germinating some to see if they are viable for growing. Simple put between moistened paper towels in a bag and watch them. If they all sprout you can plant them and try!

      Reply to Susy's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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