Butter beans

I am so glad it is starting to thaw where you live. I’ve always enjoyed reading your blog and articles. I know you can let butter beans dry in their shells, but is it possible to dehydrate fresh shelled butter beans or peas? If so, will the finished product taste more like fresh shelled when rehydrated? Thanks for your help. I hope spring comes early for you.

Shirley Toney
Liberty, Mississippi

Yes, you can dehydrate fresh, shelled butter beans and peas. And, yes, they’ll taste just about as fresh as newly shelled beans/peas. We’re hoping that Spring comes gently so all this snow doesn’t turn to slop. But any way it comes, we’re sure ready for it! — Jackie

Rendering beef fat

We bought some beef and took all the fat as well (to can for use with dried beans which taste awful without some sort of fat for flavoring). However, how does a person can raw beef fat? You say it’s tallow is not as good as pig fat for making pies and such however I didn’t want to throw it away. So do we render it first and then throw the hot fat in a cool jar and put a lid on it? That should seal itself. Then pressure can it? Or water bath it? What do you think? Or just put the raw stuff into jars and pressure can as for meat? (Probably not recommended I think.) Or process it as you do the bacon by rendering it a bit first and then canning it while it’s still hot? Thanks for your help on this! And spring finally showed up here too! Happily it won’t be a 6 month winter like last year!

Louise Sandy

I would render it down just like lard, then put into hot, sterilized jars while very hot, then put on a hot, previously-simmered lid, and screw down the ring firmly tight. Just like you do lard. No further processing is necessary. Keep in a cooler, dark place. It should remain good for a long time. Why not can up some of those dry beans with a bit of your beef fat, before rendering, for flavoring? I also add onions and spices to my canned beans to perk up the “blah” taste. I’m sure glad Spring is showing its face at your house, too. We’re all pretty glad for warmer weather. Now if we just don’t get the March or April blizzard! — Jackie


  1. zelda,

    Probably your beans and peas were a bit too mature before you shelled them and dehydrated them. I’ve done a lot and have been happy with the results. Instead of tossing them, if you’d have canned them up with other ingredients such as ham, vegetables and broth, you’d have ended up with nice, tender, veggies in a soup base. I HATE wasting anything.

  2. Holly,

    No, once canned, the fat in your processed foods will not get rancid. One of the pluses of canning!

  3. The beans and peas I’ve dehydrated were interesting. They never did get soft when cooked and were chewy like jerky although I did the boiling water soak before adding them to soups or stews, cooked them first, let them cook a long time. The taste was blah. I kept them in jars with canning lids. They never did get moldy. But it was not a very satisfactory eating experience and after a few years of trying to use them I threw all of them out and haven’t dried any more. There must be something I don’t know about how to dry them and have an edible result. I’m going to try threading peppers and hanging them in my kitchen to dry this year. Hoping for more tasty results than the peas and beans.

  4. Wow, I’m very interested to hear that dehydrating fresh beans saves that fresh flavor! I just LOVE fresh lima beans. This goes in the Remember This! file. Thank you!

  5. ….Which leads to my question. About 3 years ago I taught myself to can. Started right out with meat – no water bath here! I have canned ham and pork loin, along with some hamburger. It is stored in a relatively dark area under the basement stairs that gets no warmer than 70 during the summer and is in the 50’s most of the year. I started wondering the other day if the fat would still get rancid under those conditions after a couple of years. Thoughts?

    Thank you!

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