Growing Dried Beans

2.9 based on 17 ratings

Updated on Oct 01, 2014

Grade Level: 3rd - 6th; Type: Life Science

To determine if dried beans from the grocery store can be grown.

The purpose of this experiment is to find out whether the process used to dry the beans we eat for food renders them unviable. This experiment can be performed on any variety of store bought legumes.

  • What is the process by which green bean seeds are dried?
  • What is the process by which pinto, white, or other store bought beans are dried?
  • How long do bean embryos survive when dried for planting?
  • How long do dried beans intended for eating last?
  • Why do beans need to be rehydrated before eating or planting?
  • How are beans pollinated?

Before they are packaged as seeds for planting, many fresh seeds must be dried out under specific conditions. Green bean embryos, which are the same part of the bean plant that we eat when we eat pinto, white, or other beans, are one such seed. Relatively easy to grow, green beans must first be soaked in water overnight before they are planted in soil. Dried beans must also be soaked overnight before they are eaten. By drying these and other legumes prior to storing, beans can be eaten long after they are harvested and also planted in the next year’s growing season. If the drying process used in beans intended for food does not kill the dormant embryo, these beans should grow into adult plants that will be able to produce more beans.

  • Green bean seeds (to use as a control)
  • Dried pinto, white or other beans
  • 4” Planter boxes
  • Potting soil
  • Water

Seeds and potting supplies can be picked up at a hardware store or plant nursery. Experimental dried beans can be purchased at a grocery store.


  1. Soak all beans overnight (about 4-6 of each type).
  2. Fill potting containers with loose soil.
  3. Label two of the containers “Green Beans.”
  4. Label two of the containers with the type of beans you selected from the grocery store.
  5. If you are using a third type of legume in your experiment, label 2 more pots with the name of that type of plant.
  6. Make a 1” deep hole for each bean. You can plant up to two or three in each 4” container.
  7. Plant the beans in the labeled containers.
  8. Water and observe daily. Your plants will take a few days to germinate. Use a growth chart such as the one below to record plant growth.
Green Bean 1
Green Bean 2
Green Bean 3
Pinto Bean 1
Pinto Bean 2
Pinto Bean 3
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5

Terms/Concepts: Dehydrate; Rehydrate; Germinate; Pollination; Cross-pollination; Embryo; Dormant


Writer and educator Crystal Beran is rarely seen without a pen. Her adventures have brought her to four continents and her quest for answers has led her to discover more questions than she could fill all the pages with. She currently resides in Northern California, where she can be found sipping tea and writing books.

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