They should be full grown and the pods turned yellow on the vines before they are gathered; then hull or shell them out, and dry them perfectly in the shade. They will keep well through the year tied in a cloth and hung up in the garret [attic] or some other convenient place, where they will be a little exposed to the air; and when properly managed, they are very near as good as when green.
From The Kentucky Housewife by Lettice Bryan, 1839
Comment: This should be called “Drying Butter Beans” but we prints ‘em as we finds ‘em. Whether one lived in the city and bought at the market, or in the country and grew one’s own, the need for methods of preserving food for availability when it was not in its growing season was a never-ending chore in the days before cheap long-distance transportation. The lack of mechanical refrigeration complicated the matter even further as simply blanching vegetables and throwing them in the freezer was obviously not an option. The procedure Mrs. Bryan describes, of sun-drying, was one of the most common. It worked best if the sun was bright, a slight breeze was blowing, and the humidity was not too high. It also worked best on objects which were small enough to dry sufficiently in one day, since otherwise the produce would have to be gathered in every evening to keep it from both marauding wildlife and overnight dew.