Thursday 26 June 2014

Broad Beans (again)

The Broad Bean is one of the few vegetables that seems to have remained predominantly seasonal - in other words, apart from the frozen ones that are available all the time, they only appear in the shops during a certain season. For us here in the UK that season is late Spring / early Summer. Jane and I are not great fans of frozen veg, so we tend to take full advantage of the fresh Broad Beans when they are available. In my little veg plot I am unable to devote much space to growing them, but they appear every year on my Growing-list. Harvest time is -- NOW!

My first harvest, a few days ago, was 552g of the "Stereo" beans, about which I have recently written in detail, but this batch includes not only another 390g of "Stereo", but also 811g of "Witkiem Manita".


"Witkiem Manita"
The basket of "Witkiem Manita" looks by far the larger of the two, but funnily enough once they are podded it will probably be the smaller (in terms of weight). The big pods have lots of padding, whereas the smaller pods of "Stereo" will be much more tightly filled. This type of bean should not be left to get too big, because they can easily become tough and leathery. It's best to pick them at the right time and if necessary keep them in a plastic bag in the fridge. Broad Beans will happily keep for at least a week that way.

The pods of "Witkiem Manita" are quite short by Broad Bean standards - they are definitely not a "longpod" variety. Most of mine are about 20cm long.

The pods of "Stereo" are usually about 10 - 12cm long, and much slimmer.

Does anyone know whether you can make anything edible with Broad Bean pods, like you can with pea pods? It seems such a waste to put such a high proportion of one's harvest straight on to the compost heap.

Since we currently have BBs available, who would like to give me a recipe for cooking them? It would be nice if you would share with me your favourite way(s) of using them.

Here's a photo of some ingredients that went into a meal Jane cooked last weekend. Broad Beans, Sherry, Toasted Almonds, Lemon, Smoked Paprika, Marjoram... Guess which country's cuisine we're talking about!

The dish was a Spanish-style tortilla - a bit like an omelette - filled with Broad Beans braised in sherry. A very different way of using the beans, and very delicious too! The recipe came from Holland and Barrett's "Healthy"  magazine.


  1. Anything with fava beans is delicious. I do like fava bean hummus. Though maybe it shouldn't be called a hummus since it doesn't have tahini. Just favas, lemon juice, garlic, salt and olive oil. I checked mine yesterday and some are almost ready.

  2. That looks like a decent harvest and I love all the different baskets you use. No recipes here I'm afraid, I've only grown broad beans a couple of times, they're not one of my favourite veggies.

  3. My go-to recipe for the left over pods is Abel & Cole's Bean Pod Fritters which makes a great snack - the pods become surprisingly tender and tasty (although not very healthy!). I fry mine in a little pool of oil in the bottom of my wok and they come up very nice with a touch of chilli powder and black pepper.

  4. One of my favorite ways to prepare the beans in the pod, and I imagine the same method can be used on the pods alone, is to slick them with some olive oil and either roast them in a hot oven or put them on the BBQ, and cook them until they are tender and have browned a bit, then serve them hot tossed with some coarse salt and perhaps some minced garlic. The pods are entirely edible other than the strings running the length of the pod. If you roast them with the beans in the pod, those too are entirely edible. Be prepared to get messy, these are definitely finger food. Your beans look like they are the perfect size for this method.

  5. I'll definitely have a go at frying the pods. I've never tried that.
    My favourite lunch just now is beans on toast! Cook the broad beans in salted water and drain. Cook a little garlic in some butter very briefly then add the beans back into the pan and cook a minute longer. Add some basil if you happen to have some and serve on toast.

  6. I'd never think of eating broad bean pods.


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