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drying beans with white mold

Posted by earthharvestfarm 5 (My Page) on
Fri, Oct 3, 08 at 10:24

Has anyone had a ton of white mold on their dry beans and successfully washed it off and stored them? I know this is a funny question, but we had such a small harvest, I hate to see so many beans go to waste! The beans got too wet before harvest. When I harvested them, they were mostly dry (brittle shells). I wondering if I can wash the beans in a colander, towel dry them, and then dry in the colander. I have access to a dehydrator and plenty of freezer space.

Here's what I've done so far:
+ shelled the beans into brown paper bags, tossing the beans that were the moldiest, saving only those that were free of mold or that had a tiny sign of it
+ have the bags sitting open in the dining room

Thanks for any help you can provide! I hate to see these go to waste, but perhaps that's just what will have to happen.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: drying beans with white mold

Whenever rain threatens, I'm out in the garden picking any bean pods that are dry or close to it. Some beans can take a quick shower with little damage, while others are more sensitive. Extended rainfall (which I assume is what you experienced) can cause almost total loss in most beans.

Personally, I think that you are probably better off throwing the bad ones away. The mold is probably more than just skin deep, and they will not store well. There is also the possibility of some level of decay.

If you intend to keep them, I would recommend that you wash them thoroughly, then dry them immediately. You need to arrest any further mold growth. The drying would be best accomplished by spreading them out in a single layer on a clean cotton sheet, if you have the floor space to do so. The sheet will rapidly wick away excess moisture, while keeping the beans clean. Place a fan over them, to dry them quickly. Pull up the corners of the sheet after a few hours, shake the beans, replace the sheet with a dry one if possible, and spread them out again under the fan. When the beans are dry enough that they don't give under a thumbnail, they can be returned to clean, open paper bags to dry further.


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RE: drying beans with white mold

thank you so much for your reply!!
i started washing the shelled beans yesterday and didn't find much mold left on any of them. i expected them to all be infected due to my ignorance about the mold. i know that i didn't throw all the moldy beans away and that some made it into the collection bags. they must have air dried themselves in the open paper bags i had them in for about 2 weeks before i found a spare moment to work on them. i wish i could have gotten to them earlier, but no luck. i've got a bushel full of dried tongue of fire bean pods i need to clean and sort. i think there is some mold on them, but they seem better than the previous harvests.
at what stage do i put them in the freezer to eliminate weevils: before or after they are completely dry? (i haven't seen any yet or any of their holes...do we even have them in wisconsin?)
by the way, where in wisconsin are you located? i'm in walworth county.
thanks again, i appreciate your advice.


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RE: drying beans with white mold

"at what stage do i put them in the freezer to eliminate weevils: before or after they are completely dry?"

Seeds must be dried to a low moisture content before freezing, or ice crystals will destroy them.

I've never (yet) had weevils in my beans, and I'm not sure if they live here... but I keep each variety sealed in separate plastic bags, just in case. Whenever I receive new seed (whether swap or commercial), I freeze it immediately upon receipt, and keep it in "quarantine" until I know it is bug-free.

Three years ago, I received buggy seed from a reputable seed company; when I informed them, they found that their entire seed stock for the variety was infected. I really wanted to grow it, so I froze the seed for a week. There was no trace of the bugs after that, and I was able to grow the crop successfully.

My location is in Winnebago County, between Oshkosh & Omro. Beans generally do well for me here... aside from the freakish flooding this year, we usually miss the worst weather, and have a long dry spell just as the beans are drying. Last Friday's frost killed most of my country garden, but the beans in my yard survived, and continue to mature seed.


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RE: drying beans with white mold

  • Posted by ppod 6 SE NY (My Page) on
    Sat, Oct 11, 08 at 1:43

Just wondered if plants, grown from bean seeds that had mold on them, would be more likely to get afflicted by diseases?

I read some time ago in the Tomato Forum that some people treated tomato seeds by washing the seeds (after the fermentation process was done with) in, I think it was, a weak bleach solution.

Could the bean seeds likewise be treated in an effort to ward off plant diseases?


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RE: drying beans with white mold

Just wondered if plants, grown from bean seeds that had mold on them, would be more likely to get afflicted by diseases?

Yes, especially rotting & damping off of the seedlings. The plants which survived this, however, should be normal.

My personal opinion is that beans which have been exposed to excess moisture - whether visibly molded or not - should not be saved for planting. Their storage life will be poor, and they are more likely to suffer from rotting & poor germination. I would only save such seeds if they were rare, or if I was nearly out of seed.

It's possible that beans could be treated to kill external pathogens, but I have never tried it. Beans absorb moisture very quickly, so I am apprehensive about treating them with any agent that could potentially destroy the seed (such as chlorine). Furthermore, exposing fully dried beans to moisture could trigger germination, and would likely reduce their storage life. For these reasons, I would recommend that such treatments be used just prior to planting, and only for seed to be used immediately.

After any water-based treatment, the beans would need to be either planted or dried very quickly, or they might begin to germinate.


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