Preparing Shuck Beans or “Leather Britches”

shuckbeansToday’s guest post is written by fellow author and friend, Rebecca Waters. Preparing and eating shuck beans is a childhood memory with her grandmother.

Our ancestors have found many ways to preserve food. It was a necessity. You may be familiar with processing vegetables by canning them or freezing them, but long before modern methods of preservation were available, many vegetables were stored in root cellars or dried and hung in on strings. Dried vegetables were then tied up in cloth sacks to keep through the cold winter months. Today, I offer the recipe for shuck beans, sometimes called “leather britches” because of their brown leathery appearance.

Preserving beans through drying:

Wash, dry, and remove the strings of freshly picked green beans. White Half Runners are best for this recipe.

You can dry the beans either by breaking them up and spreading them out in the sun on a sheet to dry (bring them in every night before dew falls) or by stringing them whole on a thread and hanging them up to dry in the sun or in a dry attic.

Once they are dry they will rattle when shaken. The dried beans can be put in a pillowcase or tied up in a clean piece of cloth and stored until you are ready to cook them.

To prepare beans for cooking, put them in warm water and soak them overnight.

Wash them several times until the water runs clear.

Place the beans in a large kettle and cover with water. Add fatback or salt bacon to the beans. Add salt if needed. Cook two to three hours on low heat until tender.

Because the dried beans are light to carry, both Union and Confederate soldiers could, once camp was established, prepare the beans and indulge in a taste of home. Since shuck beans take a while to cook, this wasn’t a meal for soldiers on the march.

-Rebecca Waters

breathing-on-her-own-cover-copyBreathing On Her Own

Molly Tipton and her husband are looking forward to retirement but Molly’s life suddenly spirals out of control when her oldest daughter is involved in a terrible accident. An icy road and a sharp turn leave one woman dead, another clinging to life.

While two families grieve, details emerge that reveal Molly’s daughter was driving under the influence. As she prepares her daughter for the prospect of a vehicular homicide lawsuit, Molly discovers her oldest child is not the only one injured and under attack for past mistakes. If it is true time heals all wounds, what are we to do with our scars?

beckyAbout Rebecca:

Rebecca Waters’ freelance work has published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Standard Publishing’s Lookout Magazine, The Christian Communicator, Church Libraries, and Home Health Aide Digest. Breathing on Her Own is Rebecca’s first novel. As a published author, she shares her writing journey in her weekly blog, A Novel Creation. To learn more about Rebecca or to read A Novel Creation, visit her website.

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