Threshing Dried Beans

A Low-Tech Method for Small-Scale Growers

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
October 7, 2014

Small-scale dry bean growers often lack the large equipment needed to quickly thresh their crop. In this video, Rebecca Jehn of Rebecca’s Garden in Victoria, BC, demonstrates a fast, low-tech method she uses to thresh dried beans. With a threshing box and a small air compressor, she is able to separate the beans from their pods in minutes. She learned this method from fellow seed grower, Dan Jason, of Salt Spring Seeds.

Both Rebecca and Dan have spent years cultivating and testing bean varieties for the marine west coast climate around Vancouver Island. Dry beans grow well in this climate if you start early. According to Rebecca, because of the short dry season, it’s important to plant by May and stop watering around July, just after the first crop of green beans appears. This helps the plant to put all its energy into maturing and drying the first crop of beans, allowing for harvest while the weather is still likely to be dry.

Rebecca grows most of her bush beans and pole beans in 20-foot rows. If the weather is too damp to dry the beans on the plant, she uses a light table to get them “crispy dry” before threshing.

More about dry beans:

In Search of the Local Bean
23 Heritage Beans

5 Responses leave one →
  1. 2017 April 12
    Elizabeth permalink

    Hi! I love this! Would you willing to share dimensions and any other helpful details for building one? Thank you!

    • 2017 April 12
      BC Farms & Food permalink

      In his book The Power of Pulses, Dan Jason describes his threshing boxes as being 2 x 3 feet (60 x 90 cm), with sides about 18 inches (46 cm) high.

  2. 2016 May 2
    KEITH permalink

    Wow, what a beautifully simple way of threshing/separating beans. I think I can handle this one. Thank you!

  3. 2016 March 21
    Jennifer permalink

    This is such a neat idea! Best I’ve found for small scale, non-mechanical bean threshing. One question… how did you get all of the pods off the plants? That’s one part that takes a lot of time. Thanks! Jennifer

  4. 2015 January 17
    Natanis permalink

    Wow, thanks for the tip on not watering my drying beans after the first crop appears in July! I am going to try that this year, hopefully better beans and save on watering too.
    I have been buying seeds and proucts from you at local markets for over 10 – 15 years, especially love your selection of pepper seeds.

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