Gathering and Drying Kiawe

GATHERING and DRYING KIAWE BEANS PODS

  1. Make friends with your kiawe tree
  2. Gather clean, fresh, sweet bean pods from the ground. Fresh = the stem or tip of the stem is slightly colored green. Look for bright tan pod color and plump form. Avoid gathering from areas contaminated by people, animals, herbicides. Avoid wet, moldy, rotten, trampled pods.
  3. Before u gather a lot, taste a few fresh bean pods. Every tree makes different tasting pods. Most flat and thin pods r not sweet. Clean off any dirt, bite and suck or chew. If they are sweet and/or you like the taste, then pick from that tree. No like- find another tree. note: more than half the trees make bitter or slightly bitter tasting pods. We don’t think bitter is bad, we just don’t know how to use them best.
  4.  Vigorously and quickly wash the bean pods. We do this in a wheel barrow, in small batches with a hose nozzle. We wash them for 10-20 seconds. Shake the water off and dry them immediately. Do not let them stay wet.
  5. Dry till crispy. Crispy = when bitten the corner of the pod explodes in your mouth like a cracker. The pods must be cri­­spy dry to mill or blend into flour. We use covered solar driers. It takes 2 days in the summer and 3-5 days in the fall to dry them crispy.
  6. Kiawe pods absorb moisture in the air very quickly. Dry pods will rehydrate in 20 minutes in our humid climate. Best drying days 4 us on the Leeward side r hot tradewind days.
  7. Store dried beans in air tight containers- buckets w lids, boxes in heavy duty garbage bags, etc. Pods must be cool to store. Do not store warm or hot pods. As they cool they will release moisture in the sealed container. If pods r hot/warm, we place the lids on the buckets, but do not seal them for a few hours.
  8. When a bucket of crispy pods r shaken they make a “tinny” sound. Check ur pods 4 crispiness before u try milling/blending them. And CONGRATULATIONS on drying beans successfully!!
  9. note: Dried bean pods can store for years.

Questions about gathering and drying? Call us @ 808 478-6492.

Aloha nui!

One comment on “Gathering and Drying Kiawe
  1. Julia says:

    Because mesquite pods have the shape and size of a green bean they are often called mesquite beans, which has caused some misunderstanding of how the fruit is used.