Introduction

This weeks seasonal veg are Broad Beans, which are in season from May to July, and the only bean that is truly happy in the UK’s damp, cool climate. Broad beans have been around in Britain and the Mediterranean for over 10,20000 years. The Romans, Greeks and the Egyptians all cultivated Broad Beans. A unique quality about broad beans is that they have an efficient atmospheric nitrogen-fixing ability and well adapts to climate change making it a good food source for future generations

Broad Beans contain B Vitamins, which play an important role in the prevention of heart disease. An excellent source of Thiamine (B1), 100g of raw beans provides half a persons daily requirement. Broad beans are also very high in folate which helps the elasticity of the artery walls increasing thickness and lowering the risk of heart attack. Broad Beans can help alleviate some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s which affects the nervous system causing movement and balance issues The brain cells that produce dopamine begin to die. There is no cure for Parkinson’s – Broad Beans contain an amino acid called L-dopa that converts to dopamine, L-dopa is used for in medications to help control Parkinson sym. Broad Beans are low in saturated fat, calories and high in fibre so good also for weight loss, lowering cholesterol levels and regulating blood glucose levels. High in potassium that lowers blood pressure. They are also good for immunity as contain the B vitamins, C and K with minerals manganese, magnesium and zinc. Collectively these help with the immune system which is responsible for many diseases such as cancer, diabetes etc.

Broad beans have an unusual texture not liked by everyone and the appearance and texture puts many many people off. In fact the sage philosopher Pythagoras forbade the eating of broad beans because it was the belief they contained the souls of the dead.

 

Broad beans image

Ways to Prepare Broad Beans

  • Raw when tender and young

  • Griddled or Roasted in their outer pods.

  • Grilled in a cast iron skillet with olive oil and sea salt in their pods. When cooked they should be soft and tender. Serve with parsley, coriander, chilli flakes, lemon zest and lime juice.

  • Roasted in the oven with olive oil and salt on a baking sheet and roast in an oven heated to 220 C/Gas 7 for 20-30 mins.

Broad Beans with Mint and Lemon

  • 1 lbs Broad Beans

  • 3 Garlic Cloves minced

  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Mint

  • 1 Lemon Zested

  • 1 tsp olive oil

  • Coarse Sea Salt

This side is great to serve with fish as it resembles the taste and texture of mushy peas or as a topping for bruschetta.

Broad Beans with mint and lemon

Method

  1. Shell the broad beans 
  2. Boil the broad beans for 3 mins, drain and plunge into ice-cold water to stop the cooking process.
  3. Remove the outer skins to reveal the tender green beans.
  4. Place in a bowl and mash with a fork.
  5. In a frying pan heat the olive oil and over a low heat add the garlic and chopped mint. Saute for a few minutes to allow the garlic to cook and infuse the oil. Do not allow to burn as it will taste bitter.
  6. Add the mashed beans and lemon zest.
  7. Sprinkle with some coarse sea salt to taste and serve as a side dish.

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