About broad beans …
The broad bean – which you might know as the Fava bean – is a crop which originated in the Mediterranean region or southwestern Asia and are one of our most ancient crops – so great for paleo digestive properties. Broad beans are a great source of protein and carbohydrates.They are rich in potassium, which can have beneficial effects on blood pressure.
Did you know? Broad beans also contain an amino acid (called L-dopa), which stimulates the brain to make dopamine – the chemical associated with happiness.
How to store them?
You can keep them in a perforated bag in the fridge for up to 5 days. But the easiest way to store broad beans remains by freezing them. This way they can be used cooked or defrosted as and when needed. They can also be dried and stored in air-tight jars but be careful to avoid damp, as this can make the beans ferment, so follow instructions carefully if you go down this route.
To prepare the beans, first of all you have to pod them. Put them in a pan, cover with boiling water, return to the boil and cook for 3-5 minutes. Then drain, empty into cold water, slit each pod along its seam and run your thumb along the furry inside to push the beans out. New season tender beans don’t need double podding but as the season progresses you might need to pop them out of their rubbery skins.
How to cook them?
The creamy texture of broad beans complements sharper, salty flavours perfectly. Toss beans with Greek cheese to create a tasty topping for bruschetta, simply sauté with anchovy fillets and seasonal tomatoes to accompany meat dishes or combine with lemon juice for a warm, zesty salad base for halloumi.
You can also try to create a taste sensation and super fresh flavour by combining broad beans with mint. If you like it subtle, add a few mint leaves to soup or sides to intensify the taste by stirring in a couple of tablespoons of mint sauce.
Here is a simple and totally delicious recipe for a quick supper, from the BBC Good Food website (we don’t want to lose this site as their recipes are fab and all work!) ; a crushed broad bean pesto.
- 300g. podded fresh broad beans
- 2 garlic clove, halved lengthways
- 3 anchovy fillets , chopped
- 25g. parmesan, grated – or use wonderful veggie Twineham Grange parmesan
- juice and zest 1/2 lemon
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- Cook the broad beans in a pan of boiling salted water for 3 mins until they float. Drain and quickly run under ice-cold water to stop them cooking. Squeeze the small green beans from their skins and discard the skins.
- Fry the garlic and anchovies in a small pan for a few mins until golden, then stir through the broad beans. Transfer to a bowl (or use a pestle and mortar) and crush the broad beans with the Parmesan, lemon juice and zest, and oil. Will keep in the fridge for 3 days.