I got my broad beans in really late this year, through a mixture of snow and laziness. There was snow in both November and February, rendering the soil unworkable. However, since I love broad beans so much, I managed to shake myself, and get them planted, eventually.
Almost all gardeners will tell you to pinch out the tips of the beans once they get the first bean pods. This is to stop them getting taller, meaning that they concentrate their energy into beans. They also say it will help prevent blackfly infestations.
What a lot of them don’t tell you is that they also make a really delicious vegetable in their own right, with a subtle broad bean flavour. You can have them steamed or quickly boiled. They don’t keep very well though, so they really are the gardener’s treat. This really is the best advert for growing your own, just so that you too can try this treat for yourself. They will even grow along the edge of your balcony in a deep window box – a pretty, edible, and practical windbreak.
I added mine to a risotto, following the same method as the one I gave in the masterclass the other day. I made the white risotto base, then added the tips, and some cooked, double-podded broad beans along with the last ladleful of stock. I used Crème fraîche instead of the butter at the end, along with some chopped dill. Then I served it all up with a nice green salad, which included some wild garlic leaves.
So lovely, light and fresh. Will you try to grow some just to see what you are missing out on?