Making Leather Britches

August 23, 2011

When I lived in my cabin, green beans were strung onto cotton string and hung over my wood cookstove to dry. When I finished harvesting for the summer, there were endless strings of beans within arm's reach. It was a great way to preserve the beans, and looks pretty cool. Although I am not in a cabin at the moment, I still like to make dried beans like this. They are officially called Leather Britches. 

To make them, wash your fresh beans and trim off the ends. Remove the strings if needed. Using a fat sewing needle and cotton string, poke through the beans, one at a time, and literally string them onto the cotton. Make your strings as long as you want to, between 3 and 4 feet is manageable. 

Hang up the strings of beans in a sunny window, or over a wood stove to dry. That's all there is to it! To use them, soak in water until plumped back up, drain water and soak again - I like to add a little bit of salt to the second soaking, for added flavor. 

If you are not interested in stringing up beans, you can always put them in the dehydrator at 125 degrees,  and dried until semi-crisp. Store them in the pantry, in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. 

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Jan neal's picture

We never got the beans wet before stringing that was why we rinse twice before cooling completely. Getting wet before will at times cause mold. So dry them good before stringing. I don't string up anymore now I just string the beans and break. I have a screen build and can be hung up, so I lay the broke beans on the screen hang it up so air can get all around them and move them around everyday so they dry evenly. Growing up my mother would lay them in front of her window on a sheet where the sun could reach them.