Broad beans are a wonderful summer crop usually available from June to September. We grow one crop of broad beans each season so they will be available in farm shop for a short period only. They belong to the legume family which includes green garden peas and chick peas. Said to originate in the Mediterranean. Young broad beans can be podded and eaten just like green peas. Once they get larger the skin gets a little more fibrous so its common to blanch them for a minute or so in boiling water and then refresh in cold water. The tougher outer skins will be easier to peel off revealing a smaller tender green bean inside. Renowned for a small yield after all the podding and peeling but always worth it. They are a classically English seasonal vegetable and really delicious.
The soft and creamy texture of broad beans make them a really good partner to foods with a salty kick such as bacon, parmesan and anchovies. They are really good in a minty summery potato salad or in a creamy pasta dish. Steam rather than boil to retain more of their nutrients. A good source of vitamins and protein too.
Here is a link to some creative recipe ideas from award winning Delicious Magazine.