The Shellout Bean Harvest + A Comforting Bean Stew

Shellout bean harvest ediblebackyard NZ
This years collection of shellout beans

The shellout beans are harvested and dried. Those jars of pretty beans in the pantry are my most satisfying preserve. A very meaningful store of fibre and protein. Have a go next year, you wont be disappointed.

A comforting bean stew

comforting bean stew edible backyard nz
Humble, but so good.

This is yum. Such comfort + nourishment from humble ingredients.

Thank you to the lovely folks at Lilybee wraps for sharing this recipe in their latest newsletter. I’ve made a few small changes, as I imagine you will too. Recipes like this can go in so many ways depending on what you have to hand.

Serves 6

2 large onions, sliced
1 Tblspn coconut oil or ghee
4 garlic cloves, minced
500ml jar preserved tomatoes, or 1 can
3 large carrots
1¼ c beef stock
1 Tblspn worcestershire sauce
3c cooked or canned beans. A mix looks pretty – I used borlottis and blue shackamaxon
1 Tblspn tomato paste
1 teaspoon of chilli flakes or 1 chilli sliced
½ tsp cider vinegar or lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Saute onions in oil in a heavy cast iron pot, until tender
Add carrots and garlic and saute another minute
Add tomatoes, stock and worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer for 15 minutes
Add beans, tomato paste, chilli and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir to prevent catching on the bottom.
Add cider vinegar and taste for seasoning. Salt and pepper generously.

Serve with a salty, crunchy, fluffy baked potato and a bunch of fresh picked steamed greens.


  1. Thanks Kath. I discovered some beautiful beans in the garden, that I believe are from a Complimentary Pack. They are a beautiful deep purple color outside. I will grow more of these beauties next year.
    My question is… how do you harvest and prepare the shell out beans. Pick, shell, dry, bottle, cook?

    Is there any washing, rinsing, blanching required?

    • good question Suzanne. Nope simply leave them to dry in the pod. This is different for each type – start checking once the pods begin to go yellow. Feel for the hardness of the bean, thats the key. Once the beans are hard inside the pod, bring the pods in, pop out the beans and leave them to dry on a basket or some such in a dry dark place then fill a clean jar with them. As easy as that.

  2. Donna Hansby says

    What determines a bean to be called a shellout bean.I have some painted lady bean seeds and windering if they are suitable for drying and storing.regards Donna

    • Technically any bean can be a shellout bean Donna – though some taste a lot better than others :). Scarlet runners make a good shellout for sure. After years of trial and error you find the ones you love. Sethas seeds sell an excellent mixed dry bean packet with 3 really good shellout bean varieties.

  3. Hi Kath, I’m always curious about leaving the beans to dry on the vine.. If the plant is setting seed does it still keep producing through the season? Or do you need a higher volume of plants to guarantee a good crop? Thanks!

    • Hiya Alice. Nope there will be no more production once seed starts but in regards to shellout that is what we’ve got them for right, the seed 🙂 I pick them a bit initially to stimulate production and once the vine is covered in crop them let them alone to dry. I grow green eating beans separately and as you’ve already figured out plant a heap more shellout beans to make up for this fact!