Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Broad Beans

There are so many things I could write about today - cottage pie, vegetarian tagine.. my new running compression legging 'thingies', but I finally decided on broad beans - although I don't yet have a photo I'm afraid. I was thinking about broad beans the other day (like you do..) and I was thinking that in a way they are similar to avocados - that same clean, fresh taste, that lovely green colour. I was thinking then how very different they are, one a bean the other a fruit, and then it occurred to me that there is one recipe where they are used in a similar way and that is in a broad bean puree or guacamole. Think about it, do you think in a blind tasting you would be able to taste the difference between a guacalmole made with avocado and one made with broad beans, you know I think I'd find it difficult.

I would never try and freeze or tin, or preserve an avocado in any way. I would say, also, that it's not a good idea to try and preserve broad beans, people do... In the supermarket recently, I decided to buy a tin of broad beans, just to try them out. I guessed they would still be in that tough outer skin and that I could just take those skins off. Well, I tell you what, was I in for a big surprise or what, and totally not in a good way. The tinned beans bore no resemblance whatsoever to fresh broad beans. They were pale grey in colour, I took the skin off they were still grey and mealy. This was to the point where I could completely mush them between finger and thumb. Eurgh ! Absolutely nothing like fresh broad beans. In the bin they went.

To blanch my broad beans I often boil a kettle of water, put the boiled water in a glass jug and then put the podded beans in the water. After about five minutes I drain the water and then peel the beans of the tough outer skin revealing the bright green bean beneath. I think at this point the beans could safely be frozen and then plunged back into hot water to defrost.

There is another bean that I have found similar to broad beans and that is soy beans which I have had frozen and fresh. I bought a couple of bags from the Chinese Supermarket recently. They are great in stirfries and other mixed bean recipes.

Happy bean eating !

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