Bean there, done that! Broad beans – getting a head start for 2013 at the Villas…

For those of you that are still puzzling over the Thought Provoking Thursday mystery photo the other week… here’s the answer!

Aquadulce FLCKR

You see, I always plant my broad beans in November in toilet roll inner tubes, over-winter them in the greenhouse and plant them out late February or early March. This way we’re harvesting very early in the summer – long before the inevitable plague of aphids arrives around July and August.

Recipe with Broad Beans

Broad beans are one of my favourite veg and this is an incredibly simple and fabulously filling recipe by my favourite TV cook Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall down at River Cottage. It’s a delicious way to rustle up a quick and easy lunch or supper for two:

What you need:
• About a 750g freshly picked smallish broad beans
• 100 – 150g of pancetta or bacon lardons
• 1 small bunch of spring onions
• 2 tablespoons of rape seed oil
• Juice of half a lemon
• Salt and pepper

How to do it:
• Pod the beans. Put large beans in one bowl and smaller beans in another, because they cook at different times.
• Bring a large pan of water to the boil.
• Add the large beans and cook for one minute, now add the small beans.
• Cook broad beans for a further 30 seconds or until you see the skins of the larger beans just starting to split. This shouldn’t take much more than two minutes in total.
• Drain the beans. Any thicker skinned beans can be discarded at this point by simply popping out the inner bean and just using that, although this shouldn’t be necessary with very fresh beans.
• Heat a frying pan over a medium high heat. Add a small dash of oil followed by the bacon or pancetta. When it’s just starting to crisp add the spring onions, cook for a further minute. At this point add the beans to the pan. Toss the pan to combine.
• Season with the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Spoon the beans along with any juice or oil over the toasted sourdough.
• Drizzle with a little more rape seed oil to serve

For more broad bean recipes go to jamie olivers website

Go ahead and grow your own broad beans!

Broadbeans crop


  1. I am very jealous of these! I thought of doing a very similar thing with my broadies, but decided that it wouldn’t work. Little did I know!

    Do you reckon I’d get away with planting some now?

    • Bridget Elahcene says:

      I’ve never tried mid winter. Do you have a propagator? If so, you’ve got nothing to lose starting some off in there – in compost, in toilet roll inner tubes… by February they’ll be big enough to be hardened off and then planted out? Worth a try – let me know how it goes!

  2. Thanks Bridget. I guess the light levels and duration might be against me now.

    No propagator but I’ve used the boiler room at work and then moved the seedlings to the windowsill. This has worked with chillis.

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