The traditional method of storing runner beans was to salt them and nowadays I would suggest freezing as the storage method of choice, but drying runner beans and French beans is possible.
Of course, freezers are vulnerable to power failure unlike dried foods.
The method for drying runner beans detailed below is based on using an oven but since the price of dehydrators has fallen you would be better using that.
In warm areas of the world, solar dryers are very effective.
How to Dry Runner Beans & French Beans
- Wash, top and tail and string French or runner beans. If you use young beans they can be dried whole but older beans need to be cut into strips.
- Beans need to be blanched in boiling water for about 3 minutes and then fully drained. You can help to retain their colour by adding ½ oz (14 g) of bicarbonate of soda to each gallon (4.5 litres) of the blanching water but this does destroy some of the Vitamin C content.
- Spread the beans onto trays and dry at a temperature starting at 50°C/120°F/Gas Mark 0 and then increase the temperature slowly up to 65°C/150°F/Gas Mark 0. To keep the temperature down low you could leave the oven door ajar but be careful of children and pets.
- The beans are dry when they are quite crisp. Depending on their size, this takes between 2-3 hours.
- Pack in tightly corked bottles or airtight containers and store in a dry, dark place.
- They need to be soaked in cold water before using for about 12 hours or until they are soft.