Friday, April 29, 2011

Leather Britches Beans...!

I find it very interesting to find out about the "old ways" of doing things!

Preserving food was always a challenge in the days before pressure canning and dehydrators. Some very interesting ways of saving foods from a good harvest for use at a later time were used by our forefathers!

This is just one version of "leather britches beans", sometimes called "fodder beans", but there are a lot more available on line. This particular version comes from Mother Earth News!

Leather Britches
Here's how to preserve beans in an old-time way.

November/December 1970


If you'd like to try preserving beans in an old-time, way-down-south way, here's how to do it:

Pick your green or wax beans when they're tender and "snappy." Wash them and snip off the stem end. The other little sharp pointed tip won't matter, so leave it on. Let the beans drain until fairly dry, or at least till the water has dripped off.

Take a large darning needle and thread it with white store string. Kite string will do fine. Then thread your beans on the cord, sticking the needle through the middle of each bean. I don't mean down the center of the bean, just through the center, so both ends of the bean are loose.

Fasten the first bean by wrapping the string around it and making a knot so it won't pull through. Then go on stringing till your string's full. Fasten the last bean the same as the first one.

Dry the beans by hanging on a wire in a clean, dry place. An attic or unused room would be okay. Or hang them in your kitchen. They'll be gab grabbers, for sure! In the most high fallutin' magazines you'll see how decorators festoon rooms with the most unusual items. All right—go ahead with your leather britches!

The beans will become dry and wrinkled and you'll wonder what in the world you'll ever do with them, besides just letting them swing there.

In winter, take your dried beans down—several strings for a large kettle—and remove the strings. Rinse well, then put on to cook. When they boil up once, pour off the first water so you know they're clean and to remove any bitter taste. Then pour in fresh water, toss in a ham bone and an onion to keep the beans company and salt and pepper to taste. Cook till tender.

You'll come up with a mighty fine cold weather dish that'll stick to your ribs. These beans will remind you of long-ago years when folks had to preserve much of their food by drying.

Happy eatin'...

I think we forget sometimes just how hard the folks in the old days had to work to stock their pantries! It might be a good way to show the kids a bit of living history to do something like this as a project!

If folks had first hand experience in trying some of the old ways, they might appreciate what they have a little more!

Besides, you can't ever tell when something like this might come in handy, ya know? Knowledge is a treasure worth more than gold! Having the means to feed your family and care for them during hard times could very well be the most important thing you could ever hope to learn!

Fresh coffee on the patio this morning. So far, it's nice and cool...!


JOJO said...

That kind of made me smile while reading the stringing part.
Internet has not been working well so I figured I get at your blog as soon as I was able to get on. Hate when I miss you.
would love to have some coffee with you pass the pot please

HermitJim said...

Hey JoJo...
Glad I could make you smile this morning!

Hope you get your internet fixed up pretty soon! Always nice to have you around!

Thanks for the visit, sweetie!

WomanWhoRunsWithHorses said...

Ha! I always wondered why they were called 'string' beans I know!

: )

Sixbears said...

At least they had string. Ever try and make your own cordage from plants? Very time consuming. I guess one could take this old timey thing too far. Just lit the woodstove to heat my coffee. Too cheap to use propane on a cool morning.

Ben in Texas said...

OH MAN, black eyed peas , with ham hock and fresh cornbread! NOW you're talking!!!

Michael Ultra said...

I, too, have always heard the term string beans. Wow, I didn't know it was an antiquated term. Thanks Hermit. Pass the joe, please.

HermitJim said...

Hey HB...
Makes a lot more sense when you know the source, doesn't it?

So much to be learned from our past, and much of it can still be put to use if we only try!

Thanks so much for coming by today!

Hey SixBears...
Many times we forget how so many things we take for granted today were hand-made in the past! Just like string!

I'll bet that wood stove feels pretty good this morning!

You have a great day...and thanks for coming by today!

Hey Ben...
Sort of makes your mouth water, right?

Nothing like some good ol' country food to make your tummy happy!

I appreciate you coming by today!

Hey Michael...
We've adopted so many terms from the past, that it's hard to keep up with them all!

Thanks so much for coming by today!

Kyddryn said...

Hey, Mister Hermit, sir...I dried beans that way last summer. Someone had never heard the term "leather stockings" before that. Heh.

I still have the dried beans - turns out we didn't use em. We'll use 'em for seed, if nothing else.

Shade and Sweetwater,

Gorges Smythe said...

Looks like it would be best to string them before "stringing" them, Hermit. It seems like they'd be too tough to string later.