The Q&A Archives: problem with scarlet runner beans

Question: I need to know when to harvest my scarlet runner beans? Also how to store them till I can eat them all, I have a lot! They are really pretty, purple with pink spots.

Answer: Scarlet Runner beans can grow to about a foot long but for best fresh-eating flavor, harvest at about 8 inches. If you allow them to get too large they will be tough. Any that have become overmature can be allowed to dry on the vines, harvested and stored. To harvest dry beans, let the plant mature; pods will dry on the plant towards the end of summer. Pull the plants up by the roots and allow to air dry under cover if prolonged wet or cold weather sets in early. Once fully dry, shake plants back and forth within a plastic garbage can; the beans will release from their pods and settle in the bottom of the pail. To cook, soak at least six hours and then boil until tender. You can save a few for planting next year. Even if you don't harvest the beans, I think Scarlet Runner Beans are a beautiful annual vine, just for the flowers and greenery they provide. Enjoy!

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