Pinto Beans: The Joke’s On Me

Every year, I try to plant something new and different in my garden, just for fun. One year I tried peanuts and harvested exactly 8 peanuts. One year I tried parsley and it just kept growing and growing and growing. I don’t even like parsley that much.

A bowl full of fresh pinto beans.

This year, I spent $1.29 on a little packet of pinto bean seeds to do an experiment with the kids. I kept the leftover seeds and grew a six-foot row in the garden. Just for fun. We like refried beans, so why not? Plus, because the beans need to dry out on the plant before harvest, they are a “set it and forget it” garden crop, meaning I only plant it and do a single harvest. Easy enough.

One beautiful Sunday afternoon not long ago, I decided to harvest the pinto beans. I pulled up the plants and spent an hour or so enjoying some late summer weather while opening bean pods with some help from the kids, who must have equated opening bean pods with opening Christmas gifts because it brought them great joy. We harvested one whole bowl-full of pinto beans.

Many hands make quick work shelling beans.

The joke was decidedly on me.

One pound, 2.6 ounces of beany goodness.

Why? Because the packet of seeds cost me $1.29 and yielded about 1 pound of beans. I can buy a pound of conventional beans for less than that at the store, thanks to America’s farmers. And I don’t have to do any extra work. Just open the bag and cook them. My beans are organic, so maybe that counts for something.

Will I grow them again? Absolutely, now that I have saved seed. But first, I’ll make refried beans in my crockpot! But just tiny batch.

Bonus: This is the recipe I use to make crockpot refried beans. It calls for too much salt but is otherwise quite tasty.


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