Harvesting and drying your own vegetables is a great way to preserve the food over the winter months as well has dry your own butter bean seed for future plantings. Butter beans have a growth period that is typically 60 to 65 days, at which time they are ready to be harvested. Drying the butter beans is as simple as drying the vine or the bush with the bean on the plant still.
Planting the butter bean plant is the beginning of the harvest and drying process. Plant your seeds in the garden area, water regularly and wait for the bean plant to produce.
Harvest the butter bean when the bean pods are plump with the bean seeds within the pod. The beans within the pod should clearly visible from the outside. Do not pick the pod until you can feel the beans within the pod itself. The color of the butter bean pod will be a light green.
Drying the butter bean is done on the vine. This step is extremely easy to do. After you harvest your butter beans for canning or consumption, leave one or two plants in the row with the bean pods still on the plant. Allow the plant to dry naturally within the soil.
The bean pods will turn yellow first, followed by turning a tan and brown color. The butter beans within the pod are drying as the pod is changing color. You can tell the butter beans are dried when you can shake the now shriveled bean pod and the beans inside rattle.
Finish the drying process by removing the dried beans from the dried pods and place in containers for storage. Store the dried butter beans in a sealed and preferably dark container in a cool and dry place until ready to replant or use as a dried bean.