Sunday, October 2, 2016

Score Card for Beans

Once more a blog on beans. Remember, I'm addicted. Don't worry, my obsession with beans, brought on by my autism, I'm sure will soon be interrupted by the weather and my A.D.D. I can already feel it waning and I admit, I'm trying to hold on tight. I'm not finished.
I need to:
1. Type up the results for each of the eleven kinds of beans I've experimented with. Plus write notes on changes I think will improve growth and production.
2. Form a scoring card. You might think this is silly but it keeps emotions out of the equation and clarifies things. It has done so with the goats where I am much more emotionally attached. I give a certain number of points for different items on a list. Things of greater importance to me like udder design and milk production have a greater number of points allowed. The same would be for the beans. 
 How can I can get emotional about beans you might wonder but if the Scarlet Runner beans had done well you can bet my four year old granddaughter would have insisted we grow them each year because of their gorgeous deep rich purple color.
When I ran my fingers through the Tongue of Fire beans to turn them for drying, I swear their plump Christmasy feel had me hearing sleigh bells. They may not look Christmasy to you but I swear that is what they said to me. They are a bit slower to dry on the plant and when I picked part of the pods when yellow and shelled the seeds to dry, brown spots appeared. They will go in the garden next year but in a smaller quantity. Our summer was extra long and hot and still no frost, very unusual for us. We shall see what next year brings and how they react.
The Kennearly, Jacob's Cattle, and Ireland Creek beans did not turn brown when the pods were picked yellow which is a big plus. I also tried picking the whole bean plants with yellow pods to see if that made a difference. I could not see one. They did take up lots more space though.
As for the Jacob's Cattle beans, they are simply alluring with their kidney pod shape splotched with deep burgundy and white. Each bean unique in color pattern. I found them a great substitute for kidney beans in chili as they stayed firm when cooked. Kidney beans do not like our weather. The Jacob's Cattle production was half of Kennearly and Tongue of Fire but I need them for chili so I will try a few things to see if I can't up the production level.  
Kennearly beans out produced all but the Tongue of Fire beans which came in a close second. Kennearly was the earliest to reach the dried bean stage, and are great in ham and beans with their buttery flavor and soup thickening quality. A suitable substitute for Navy. Kidney and navy were two things I've been trying to find a replacement for as I love those two beans.
 Ireland Creek, did very well but I only tried one packet so they can not be fairly judged to the other beans which had an equal amount of space. I really liked the long pods and upright growth BUT lime green. I'm sorry but that is a non food color. Right at home on the Star Ship Enterprise but on my kitchen table. I'm going to have to work on that idea. Hmmmm..... how about lots of barbeque sauce. I love barbeque beans with hamburgers, that might do to hide the color. How firm will they stay when cooked? They have the kidney pod shape like Jacob's Cattle and Kidney beans, hmmmm. ...They might change color when cooked and be alright. The purple ones turned a brown color. We shall see. 
3. Formulate a new growing plan. This year I had the dried beans next to plants that needed watered at the end of the growing season. Not at all a handy way to do things. Also I want to put in two rows instead of three per section as they matured quicker when planted thinner. What to put in the middle is the question, keeping in mind space and watering constrictions.  
I also have one more bean to try or maybe two. I will only put in one packet a piece as I've learned my lesson. Experiments should be kept small.
Now this blog was suppose to be about how to tell old beans from new. It took on a life of its own. I will say that if you view the picture of the kidney beans at the top of the blog you will see they are a brighter red and shiny and last years beans.
These are dull and darker and two years old. Dull and darker means older in beans. It also means fewer vitamins so I'd better use them up quick. 

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