Preserving the harvest

The green beans were enjoyed in the heat of the summer, some were preserved (I tried my hand at fermentation this season), the vines have been pulled down and composted, so all that’s left is the beans we let go to use for seed. They were hung and dried. Normally I shell them and save the seeds to plant for next year. And I still will do that with some of them. But I was taught something else by “Mrs. Schneider” at Joseph Schneider Haus, a wonderful museum in Kitchener, Ontario that recreates life on an 1850’s homestead. She saves the pulses (the dried seeds inside the beans) as a food unto themselves. They are high in protein and fibre and keep well stored in a cool, dry place. On our most recent visit to this magical place, my son was tasked with shelling a huge flat of beans, under the guidance of “Mr. Schneider”. We were then gifted a paper bag filled with a wide variety of pulses. It’s truly nature’s artwork to see this combination of colours.pulses.jpgOur own modest harvest is now dry and ready to shell, so who better to take charge of the process than the one who learned straight from the farmer? When he was finished, he grabbed a handful of the dried out shells and said “Momma, these are ready for the kitchen fire.” In my dreams, son. In my dreams.