Broad Beans: making them go fava

 

Over the last two weeks, my Broad beans (or, as they’re called in the States, Fava beans) have started to reach giddying heights. It’s turning into quite a windy evening here in Somerset, so I’m very glad that I took a bit of time last weekend to add some canes and twine to the original sticks, giving them some extra support. I have one of my metal frames in place, and this is also lending some rigidity to the whole affair.

The beans have had loads of flowers, and some of the lower/first ones are starting to drop off, revealing baby pods beneath. I really want the plants to put all of their efforts into making beans now, rather than growing upwards, so at the weekend I pinched out the tips of each plant. This also takes away the tenderest parts that attract blackfly as we come into aphid season. Already each plant had a parade of ants ‘laying the table’, getting ready to start harvesting/milking the aphids. Well, hopefully, I’ve whipped the tablecloth out from under them. The restaurant sign has gone up: We are CLOSED. Let’s see if they take any notice.

 

I, on the other hand, had a bit of a feast on the bean tips myself! I’d heard that they were good to eat, but my mum had tried once and thought them horrible. Maybe she’d waited too long to pick them, or had kept them too long after picking?

After rinsing (to get rid of any ants) I sautéed mine in some goats butter, stirred in some feta cheese and seasoned with salt and pepper.

The taste? Very tender and subtle, a little spinachy with a hint of bean. I’m with the aphids on this one… (just make sure you cook them straight away).

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