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How to Harvest Pinto Beans

red beans image by Stepanov from

Growing your own pinto beans requires knowing when to harvest them. Unlike other varieties of beans, pintos mature completely on the vine and you must wait until both the pod and seed have dried, according to Purdue University. This requires an extended growing season with dry fall weather to produce the best crops. Should you live in an area that experiences rainy autumns, harvest the mature pinto plants early and continue to dry them indoors. Either way will yield your own pinto beans that can be stored for up to one year, according to Mother Earth News.

Examine the plant for browned leaves and brittle pods three to four months after planting.

Pull the completely dried pods from the bean plant.

Harvest mature pinto beans before they completely dry on the plant if rain threatens to soak the drying pods. Cut a pinto bean plant to the ground if the pods turn yellow but do not dry completely. Use a small saw or machete to cut the plant down and leave the roots in the ground to return nitrogen to the soil. Tie a string around the base of the plant and hang it upside down in a dark and dry place until the pods completely dry.

Spread the dried pinto bean pods in a single layer on a piece of tarp.

Hit the pods with a wooden plank to split the pods.

Separate the beans from the pods by hand, discarding the pods and transferring the beans to an airtight container for up to one year.

Harvest Pinto Beans

Pinto beans, whose history of use stretches 7,000 years, are one of the largest bean crops grown in the U.S. today. Beans are divided into two classifications: dry and green. Pinto beans are considered a dry bean. Pick the pods off the plant once the beans have matured. It does not matter where you make the cut. Withhold water from the pinto bean plants for two weeks before the time you plan to harvest. The pods should start to turn yellow. Wait until the pods turn completely yellow or begin to turn brown before harvesting. If the bean is hard, it is ready to pick. Dry beans, such as pintos, tend to produce bean pods close to the ground in addition to taller areas of the plant. Remove the beans from the shell by hand shelling or by placing the pods in a pillowcase and shaking them.

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