Last year, the first year of our gardening adventure, we planted pinto beans. The conversation before planting went something like this...
Me: I wonder if we planted pinto beans if we would get a pinto bean plant that would grow more pinto beans?
Shawn: I don't know.
Me: Do you think we should try it?
Shawn: O.K. Do you have any pinto beans?
Me: Yep, in the cupboard.
Shawn: Go get 'em.
And that's how we got started. Our yield was about 3 cups of dried pinto beans. This year, we used the pinto beans that we grew last year as well as some more from the store, so we could compare and planted at least 10 times as much. Our yield this year is about 70 lbs of dried beans.
We let the bean pods dry out on the plant and then when most of the pods were dry we cut all the plants off at the ground and left they lying (or is it laying?) on the ground to continue drying in the sun. When we had a threat of rain, we took them into the Quonset hut and layed (or should it be laid...never really learned that one in school) them out on the floor to continue drying. Once they were completely dry and the pods very brittle, we removed them from the pods by hand. 2 people worked on that project for about 8 hours. A ridiculous amount of time. If we continue to grow the beans, we must come up with a better way to get the beans out of the pods. By the way, I was not one of those 2 people. But the beans are delicious and it's really fun to eat things that you grew yourself. Here's my recipe for refried beans...
1 lb pinto beans
2 Tbs bacon grease
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
2 onions, 1 inch dice
Heaping tablespoon of lard or Crisco
Rinse thoroughly and pick through the beans. Remove any that are flat, remove any rocks or debris. Put the beans in a pot and cover with at least 2 inches of water. Heat the beans and water to boiling. Boil for 10 minutes over medium heat. Turn off the heat and let the beans soak for 1 hour in the hot water. After 1 hour, drain and rinse the beans a second time. Return the rinsed beans to the pot, cover with 2 inches of water add 3 large pinches of salt, bacon grease, onions and jalapeño. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer for 2-3 hours. Add more water if needed. After about 2 hours, start checking the beans for tenderness every half hour. They should be extremely soft before refrying. To refry, add lard to a frying pan, and turn heat to medium. When the fat is sizzling hot, add beans with a slotted spoon and mash with a potato masher. If the beans start to dry out too much add more cooking liquid. Add salt to taste and serve immediately. Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for several days.
Hope you enjoy, and I'd love hearing from you...