Veggie-in-the-Spotlight: Broad Beans

24 09 2010

Chilli Broad Beans and more...

This month sees the last of the broad beans. But before you dig out the hankies, here are some brand new broad bean recipes for making the most of them with. Remember that broad beans get tougher as the season goes along, so you’ll almost definitely want to pod and skin them before you eat them. See our Broad Beans page for a guide on podding and skinning…

Here are our newest recipes for finishing the broad bean season with:

Which will you be trying?


REMINDER: In Season in June

1 06 2009
looking forward to raspberries...

looking forward to raspberries...

Oh my, but June is an amazing month when it comes to cooking and eating. In fact, we don’t think there is another month when there is more new stuff to look forward to, so here’s hoping you’re hungry!

You can find the full “In Season in June” list here, and don’t miss the “Spotlight” features we’ve published on Apricots, Broad Beans, Cherries, Courgettes, Raspberries, Rocket and Samphire!

Growing Our Own: Update 6 from the New VegBox Garden

19 05 2009
the new veggie patch

the new veggie patch

Last time I wrote, I said I was going to:

– finish digging the rubble out of the newly exposed ground in my back yard;
– plant the broad beans and tomato into the bed;
– sow the sweetcorn; pak choi; purple sprouting broccoli; black (Cavalo) nero cabbage; endive, and kohl rabi;
– eat some of my own lettuce!

So how’s it all coming along? And how’s yours? Read the full article and let us know how you’re getting on, over on our sister site,

June’s First Veggie-in-the-Spotlight: Broad Beans

6 05 2009
brand new recipe just for you!

brand new recipe just for you!

Broad beans are also known as fava beans (eek, memories of Hannibal Lecter!).

In the UK, we usually use them fresh, but they can also be dried and then used as pulses. They are one of the most common garden vegetables in the UK. You can eat them whole, podded or skinned, depending on their age and size, and they are SO easy to grow, yielding beautiful purplish and white flowers into the bargain!

However, often there are gluts of them, and “our survey said” that lots of folks feel a bit stumped by how to use them.

Read on for a little un-stump-ing, and for the brand new broad bean recipe we’ve  been given by our lovely friends over at Octopus Books, who recently published “The Seasoned Vegetarian” by Simon Rimmer.

What to do (on the veg-patch) in May …

1 04 2009
would you grow this?

would you grow this?

Thinning the spinach, successional sowing the lettuce for cut and come again, pinching out the broad beans, using manure for the squash, and planning for the brassicas …

All the things our mentors Tony, Ann and Red are telling us we need to be doing over the next couple of months…

But what ARE they?!

Join us over on our sister site,, as we share what we’re learning on the journey to home-grown food.

Growing Our Own: Update 3 from the New VegBox Garden

3 03 2009

VegBox Novice Lesson 1: Get seedlings right up to the glass in the sun.

they shouldn't be lying down ... they should look like tony's!

they shouldn't be lying down ... they should look like tony's!

A picture speaks a thousand words.

Mind you, to sum up the picture on the left above, I only need five.

“I killed the lettuce seedlings.”

Thanks to my mentors (Ann, Red and Tony) over on the selfsufficientish forum, I saved the carrot seedlings from the same fate by moving them right into the window.

very floopy broad bean stalks

very floopy broad bean stalks

VegBox Novice Lesson 2: Start bigger-seeded veggies off in their own separate pots right from the beginning.

The support of more experienced growers has been vital over the last few weeks. They keep reminding me: the first year is about learning as as much as growing.

Phew. Because 1) I should have planted the broad bean seeds in separate pots from the beginning, 2) I waited far too long before planting them out, and 3) if I’d grown them closer to the window, their stems would now be fatter, shorter and less, well, floopy…

VegBox Novice Lesson 3: Seedlings started indoors need “hardening off”.

Then Tony patiently instructed me to “harden them off”.


“That means putting them outside in a warm spot during the day and bring them in again at night. Do that for a couple of days and they should be OK to leave them out all the time, then you can plant them in your garden.”

Thanks Tony!

fingers crossed

VegBox Novice Lesson 4: Boo. Broad beans don’t climb. No “Jack” impersonations for me!

Next, Tony assures me that broad beans, unlike runner beans, don’t climb. So all I needed to do was give them some canes and string for support as they get bigger.

And finally …

VegBox Novice Lesson 5: Keep outdoor seedlings warm and sheltered in the beginning.

mini greenhouses

mini greenhouses

What about the poor old lettuce seedlings? Well, I picked them and used them as “cress” on top of a new soup I was trying, and am starting again with new seeds. I’ve placed a trough on a South-facing outside windowsill, and have sown new seeds into that, covering them with mini-greenhouses made of re-used plastic bottle tops, thanks to a great tip from Anne.

In another 10 days, following Red’s advice, I’ll sow another lot in a second trough, and in 20 days another, etc etc. This should guarantee a long harvesting period for me, PVH and the neighbours.

Well, that’s enough growing antics from me for this week. Next week I’ll be planting the spinach and thinking about where to start the butternut squash.

Please, use the comments box to let me know that you’re making less of a mess with starting to grow your own veggies than I am over here!

Until next month!