In late autumn or winter, after listening to the virtues of the humble broad bean too many time on the 666 abc gardening show, I caved in and planted some.
I should explain. I don’t like broad beans. For those of you who are yet to experience them or aren’t sure if you’ve had them they are those grey, wrinkly, rocks that masquerade as vegetables on domestic plates and occasionally sneak their way into the local bistro. Well, that’s what I thought. That was, until I grew my own broad beans. And now, I have to admit, I am a convert.
I’ve probably eaten broad beans twice a week for the last couple of months. Somehow my 6 broad bean plants magically turned into a perfumed jungle at the end of spring. And I discovered that they make a great lazy dinner of a warm salad on toast just steamed for a minute-and-a-bit tossed in some olive oil, lemon juice (and herbs if you’ve got some). And yes, there is double peeling involved to make them edible but it’s a quick job that’s even better with some extra hands in the kitchen (just make sure you cool them down in running water first or surprisingly they are hot and burn your fingers!). For some reason this peeling thing becomes a game to see how quickly you can phft the beans out of their skins.
So next time you are wandering the nursery or trawling the seeds stand or catalogue – give that icky thing you think you don’t like a whirl – you might just be pleasantly surprised. And if you don’t like it then share them with someone else who does or add to the compost heap. There’ll be no harm done I promise.