It’s undeniable, but some people on this planet of ours do not like Broad Beans! Hard to believe, I know.
But if you’ve only ever been served these beans in their nasty thick overcoats, then that’s hardly surprising.
So getting a bit ahead of myself, Rule#1 is always double peel your broad beans! That means take the beans out of their pods then blanch the beans in boiling water 1-2 minutes (if you’re not sure of this technique I suggest you ‘google’ it). Then take the beans out of the boiling water, using a slotted spoon, let the beans cool enough so you can handle them and then squeeze the inner bean out from their outer leathery pod. This is the result.
You could just toss these in a bit of butter or oil and dress with salt and pepper and serve them as a side dish to just about anything . Another option is to saute them with some pancetta or bacon, cut into small pieces and swirl them through some pasta!
OK getting pretty excited here so I will just back track to some other thoughts.
Rule #2 don’t plant too many plants (guilty). Those large seeds encourage over planting. This year I planted out about 10 plants, some of which got dug up by an escaped chicken. But really that’s enough for two people unless you are a vegetarian, in which case I’d say go your hardest as broad beans are great croppers for the ‘hungry gap’ and you can certainly store and use them frozen or dried all year round.
Rule # 3 pick early, pick often! I don’t completely agree with people who say you can eat the smallest broad bean pods just boiled, but picking when pods are smaller will allow you to get beans that blanch and shell more readily. Also regular picking encourages more flowers and therefore more beans.
Stoage options are to freeze the double peeled beans (you will be grateful you made the extra effort up front when you pull them from the freezer ready to go). Drying is the other main option just ignore all those pods, leave them on the plants and harvest them when the plants die back. Beans in this form are great for making earthy dips like ‘ful‘.
So, broad beans, not so scary after all. Enjoy!