Yesterday I picked what will probably be the last batch of Broad Beans for the year. There are just a few pods left on one or two plants, and they may or my not mature. This is sad in a way because we do love Broad Beans and they have such a short season. However, there is good news too - I also picked my first Courgette of the year.
The courgette is not a particularly fine specimen - it's a bit "club-shaped" (thicker at one end than at the other), but I'm hoping there will be more to come. Actually, if the truth be known, this fruit is the third one my plant has produced, but the other two were not fertilised so they never grew beyond a couple of inches long. The plant is now happily producing both male and female flowers at the same time, so with a bit of luck it will soon be pumping out a fruit every couple of days for the next two months or so.
The Broad Beans are the Longpod ones (variety not known), from my second row. As I have mentioned before, the second row has not been as good as the first one, because the plants were overshadowed by their older cousins. Still, mainly due to the near-absence of Blackfly this year, even this second row has produced a reasonably respectable crop.
Because we have had quite a lot of Broad Beans this year, we have been able to experiment with more different ways of cooking and eating them. We normally eat them just plain boiled, as an accompaniment to something else (usually a meat dish), but this year Jane used some of them in an oriental-style stir-fry with Tofu and Chinese leaves, and I invented a dish with new potatoes cooked in chicken stock, onions, smoky bacon and carrots as well as the Broad Beans. We haven't yet made any into Broad Bean Hummus or Bissara, but then there is still a kilo of them left in the fridge...
In my opinion, the Broad Bean is a vegetable with a high VSR (Value for Space Rating), mainly because it is not available in the shops for very long each year, and the ones you do see are usually quite pricey. In our local supermarkets at present they are about £3 per kilogram or £7.48 if you buy the premium ones from Natoora. This certainly makes them worth growing if you can find the space.