If you are curious as to how one can make an article clothing, namely leather britches, from edible green beans, you’re in for a shock because that’s not what this article is about. Leather britches is a term given to home-dried green beans and it’s a means of preserving the garden bounty without canning or freezing.
The name of the finished product comes from the resemblance to leather that the hull of the green beans takes on and the long ‘legs’ of each string when beans are dried in this fashion. Leather britches are easy to make, require no electricity to preserve or keep and taste exceptionally good when cooked. Follow these easy instructions and see for yourself.
Making Leather Britches
To get started, you will need fresh garden green beans, a long sewing needle (a darning needle works great) and white cotton quilting thread or light-weight twine.
Use your favorite green bean and string at least enough for one cooking each time so enough for a meal will be dried at the same time.
Harvest the green beans before they become overripe and full. Wash and string as usual, but leave the beans unbroken.
Cut a six foot piece of thread or twine and thread through needle, doubling the thread and tying a knot in the two ends.
Begin to create the ‘legs’ of the leather britches by sticking the threaded needle through the center of a green bean, crosswise, and pulling it down to the knotted end of the thread, add another bean and pull it down near the first bean on the thread, but don’t allow the beans to touch. A knot can be tied in the thread between each bean to help keep them from slipping down and touching the bean below, if desired. Continue stringing the green beans in this fashion until the thread of twine is almost full. Cut the thread loose from the needle, tie a knot near the top green bean and a loop in the end of the thread. Use the loop to hang the string of green beans in a warm location that receives plenty of air circulation so the bean will dry.
It will take 6-8 weeks for the fresh green beans to dry and turn into leather britches. Check bean strings every few days, turning strings and discarding any beans that rot or mold. When beans are dry and resemble leather, unstring them and place them in an air tight container until ready to cook.