Last chance to like broad beans.

It is official.  I do not like them here, I do not like them there.  Not with a fox or in a box.  Not in a tree and not even if they are free.  Not roasted, grilled, fried or BBQ’ed.  I do not like them.  I do not like broad beans at all.

A strange thing - the broad bean
A strange thing – the broad bean

Every year I grow them.  Every year I try them and then pass them on to my mate Steve.  Steve loves broad beans.  He doesn’t need to be in a box with a fox, he just gobbles them up.  I’m not entirely sure why I grow them year after year.  I enjoy planting them out in the autumn and watching them steadily grow over the cold winter months when nothing else seems to be moving at all.  And they aren’t a tiny plant either.  A large feature on my flat winter landscape that gets removed at about the same point that the tomatoes take over as the dominant feature on my summer vista.

I’m not all that keen on any beans, but I can tolerate a green bean and growing them for their dried bean for winter soups, stews and chillies has brought excitement back into my bean patch.  I have a whole bed dedicated to something we don’t really like all that much!  But the garden would somehow seem incomplete without them, and at the end of the day I am a creature of habit and to not sow beans just wouldn’t be right.

Bees love these
Bees love these

So the broad beans go in each autumn and the growth admired.  The bees love them too.  There isn’t much else to for them to flit about between at that time of year.  So I feel good about my broad beans.  I’m helping the poor bees.  They need me to grow broad beans.

Then the little pods appear.  I shudder at the thought.  I’m gonna have to eat them or it would be a waste.  I had heard they were nicer when they were smaller so I tentatively gathered a handful and that ended up in a stir fry with other fresh seasonal vegies like snow peas and spinach and a lovely Asian inspired sauce.  The sauce went a long way to disguising the beans, but I knew they were lurking in there somewhere.  I couldn’t make myself enjoy the meal so I chewed each mouthful the minimum number of times required to swallow without tasting or choking.

With bacon and butter - nope
With bacon and butter – nope

I plucked up courage again and decided to cook them with bacon in butter.  You can’t go too wrong with bacon and butter.  Anything can be made edible with this winning combination… except broad beans.  I ate them, but under duress.  How on earth do other people enjoy these things?

I had heard they were good in a pesto.  They were bigger now, as it had taken a few weeks to get over the last attempt at liking them.  I searched far and wide on the internet for the best pesto recipe that would assist with the disguising of the bean-ness.  A lemon, garlic and mint recipe won.  Good strong flavours that would mask the taste of the beans.  It held a lot of promise and was whizzed up into a lovely bright green dip.  The flavours all worked well together.  All except the broad beans.  They bought a special something to the dish that only broad beans can.  I think I have ruined the crackers I ate them with, as now they are forever associated with a shudder inducing aftertaste.  To give me credit I did eat the lot, because no one else would and I do hate waste… even if it did take a couple of days to get it down.

Pesto - no...
Pesto – no…

It was suggested to me to try them Portuguese style with cinnamon and allspice, onion, garlic and tomato.  I had never cooked Portuguese before and found the flavours intriguing, but is was spoilt ever so slightly by the green lumps floating in its midst.  Hunger drove me to eat it up, but I didn’t really enjoy it.  Maybe with diced chicken it would be lovely.

There was nothing else for it.  The flowers had long since stopped appearing and the leaves were tired and yellowing and were really taking a hammering from the weather so I decided to pull the plants out.  It was done with mixed emotion, I was glad not to be faced with my vegetable nemesis again, but yet I felt a degree of sadness – I tried my hardest but still couldn’t like them.  I ended up with a large pile of beans that would be completely wasted if I’d popped them in the freezer and was concerned it may be too many for my friend Steve so I said to a friend who was here, “do you like broad beans” and I was halfway through asking “would you like some…” when I was cut off with a resolute “NO!”  She said they were too furry for her.

Did you know - when you steam broad beans the water turns pink?!
Did you know – when you steam broad beans the water turns pink?!

That is what is wrong with them – they are furry.  They bring a taste and texture that can only be described as furry in a non-fluffy kind of way and it messes with my taste buds.  This is why I don’t like them here, there or anywhere.  They are furry.

But she gave me a window of hope – she suggested marinating them in vinegar with sugar in it as this was supposed to take away the fuzz.  So I reached into the bag destined for Steve and grabbed the last handful of fat oversized pods and slipped the beans from their furry casing and steamed them to a soft state.  Then into the sweet vinegar solution for an hour.

Steve these are for you - enjoy!
Steve these are for you – enjoy!

And my verdict…  Not too bad….  Not something I would be able to eat loads of, but I didn’t shudder as I swallowed.  Not too bad.

So will we see broad beans in my garden again next season?   Most likely, but for the bees, of course.

Come again soon – my garden needs to be prepared for the festive neglect that comes from having Christmas smack bang in the middle of my growing season.

Sarah the Gardener  : o )

17 thoughts on “Last chance to like broad beans.

  1. You are the stubborn one. There are lots of early veggies that would see after the bees AND you could like them. Peas, snap peas, chard (or other greens–though not so much for the bees). I won’t grow what I won’t eat.

    1. Well narf you phrased that beautifully. I will be more gauche about it: avwalters, I think your response was plain rude!

    2. Hi there. You can’t say I didn’t give them a fair go. I have peas and chard in other parts of the garden, but broad beans are much more resilient in our winters.
      Merry Christmas
      Cheers Sarah : o )

  2. I loved this post, I grow them every year as well. I love them especially in persian rice with dill. (Actually I liked the fusty grey lumps in white sauce that my gran made too) but my Mr Builder is like you, no way not on any terms. So when he gets rice and beans he knows he is really in the dog box (he hates rice too).
    Yup grow em for the bees, and something to watch in the grey dead months.
    Do you get wasps wintering over in yours?

    1. Hi Thymewarp. Maybe next year I’ll try persian style, and then give the rest to my mate Steve.
      The wasps about the place are a bit annoying. They are paper wasps and they keep trying to build nests everywhere.
      Merry Christmas.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

  3. Very funny article! I happen to like broad beans actually, but not so much that we have them a lot. I am very impressed by all the possible things you tried with them – must give some a go. I think you have given it your best shot. Use the ground for something else – what about some lovely flowers (lupins or sweet peas?)

    1. Hi Annette. Lupins can double as a cover crop, so maybe I could sow some of them, although I may plant a few broad beans next year…. for Steve of course.
      Merry Christmas.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

      1. I love lupins – though one of mine got the dreaded pea aphid last year. I am going to keep a closer eye on them this year.
        Merry Christmas to you too!

  4. You are funny! My hubby berates me because I don’t grow them and it isn’t that I don’t like them either. They just demand so much room. Their young shoots are yummy stir fried and they nitrogen fix too. They can’t be all that bad! LOL .. Will I plant them next year? Bet I don’t … Now as for those lupins …

  5. It takes all kinds…my Steve wouldn’t touch broad beans but I could eat them every single meal with joy…same goes for Brussels sprouts and most other shudder inducing vegetables. Growing broad beans for the bees, for “something in the garden that is green” and for sharing with your mate Steve is a great reason to grow them. Don’t want to eat them? Forgedaboudit! Just grow them and pass them on to someone who does. Consider yourself another step in the broad bean cycle 😉

    1. Hi Fran. I am a bit of a creature of habit so you can most likely expect them in the garden next year… but I know that it is for the generosity of others.. So nice of me!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

      1. Lol! All you need to do is find someone who hates blueberries and apricots and raspberries and asparagus and who is growing them who desperately wants to get their hands on your broad beans to do a swapsies 😉

  6. I am glad you have done everything you can to make them edible for u lol I don’t think I have never tried them. You have already tried what I would hv – the guacamole like sauce to eat w chips. Keep going 🙂

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