Broad beans (also know as Fava Beans) are not the sexiest vegetable in the garden, and if you don’t take the time to prepare them they can be pretty tough and blah to eat. But we like them, even more so because of the process of raising them from seed and they are really good for you – great source of protein (24%) and a very good source of folate too! Follow our journey and I’ll share a yummy broad bean recipe with you at the end ;)
We live in bayside suburbs of Melbourne, not exactly city living, but not a farm either! Here at “Crash Palace” as it has become (not always) affectionately know, we’ve got space for raised garden beds, composting and eventually a chook house. Oh, and I can’t forget my herb garden that I put in all by myself as part of my mini backyard blitz!
Last year CrashHubby built a cold frame to raise seedlings. It’s not very beautiful, made from a recycled pallet and uses the old shower screen from our bathroom! But is sure does the trick, allowing him and the kids to plant seeds that will grow safe and warm into seedlings for our raised garden beds. Every morning CrashBoy goes out with Daddy to spray the seedlings. He loves it!
They planted the seeds for the broad beans last autumn. Here’s what’s going on in there just now. Some tomato seedlings for some very late season tomato sauce!
Broad beans don’t need a huge amount of care or attention, but they do need a lot of support. Hubby rigged some wooden stakes, crossed wires on the diagonal, and then tied string around the outside edges. They grew beautifully and we harvested our first (rather small) broad beans a few weeks ago. The kids did them all by themselves which is a relief because they were small and fiddly!
Yesterday CrashGirl and I harvested the rest of the crop. The beans looked amazing, big and fat!
I then cut all the stalks off at ground level and chopped them up to add to the compost. The roots will be dug back into the garden for the next crop: corn and sunflowers.
We had quite a crop and it took CrashGirl and I most of Sunday morning to shell them all!
Before you can eat them though there’s another couple of steps or so (labourious maybe, but lots of fun for the family!).
How to prepare broad beans for eating
I remember eating broad beans at my Nana’s when I was young. The were grey and tough and blurgh! The outer skins hadn’t been removed. When you take the time to skin them, you end up with a beautiful and vibrant green bean which tastes delicious. This is how you do it!
Bring a pot of water to the boil, add the beans and when it comes back to the boil tip them into a strainer.
Stop the cooking
Tip the beans into ice cold water to stop the cooking
This can be long and boring (and your arms can get sore!), but doing it as a family can be fun. It can also go a bit quicker if you know a few tricks. Here’s how:
- Break a hole in the outer skin where the little ‘tail’ attaches to the the bean pod. The skin is a little harder here.
- Peel it back to reveal the bean
- Gently squeeze it out, being careful not to squish your little delicacies!
Your beans are now ready to eat and this is what we did with ours for Sunday lunch.
Niçoise Pasta Salad with Broad Beans
- Large tin of tuna (425g) packed in oil (if packed in springwater you’ll need to add some oil for the dressing)
- Pasta of your choice – we used a lovely Italian egg pasta, nice long wide strips.
- Boiled eggs x 4, sliced into wedges
- Broad beans, shelled, blanched and removed from outer skin
- Parsley, chopped
- Juice of one lemon
Cook your pasta, drain the tuna and then mix everything together, breaking up the tuna. Remember to add a generous splash of olive oil if you used tuna packed in spring water. The Feta and Olives are optional. Add them according to your tastes. It’s lovely warm and just as good cold the next day :)
If you liked the look of this salad, here are some of the other simple, healthy dishes I have cooked that have survived the Crash Test Kitchen!
Laney Galligan is Crash Test Mummy. After a nervous breakdown and diagnosis of adrenal fatigue, she started her blog where she sets challenges and crash tests tips, advice and products that help her and her community of exhausted mums get sorted, take care and have fun. Her latest crash test is all about family routines and management. Results are out tomorrow!