I find myself giving my beans a gentle squeeze to judge if they are ready to pick. This can be especially useful when there are lots of leaves in the way so that you can’t see the beans clearly.
- Broad Beans: I especially like them when the beans are still tender and not too big. You can feel them through the skin of the pod. As the beans mature and start to get tough the pods develop a smooth, hard surface.
- Green Beans: French beans and runner beans for eating green are best before the beans inside start to swell and the pods become stringy.
- Dried Beans: Beans for drying, Borlotties for example, get a papery feel to the pods when the beans inside are nice and dry.