Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Preserving Broad Beans

Broad beans are very easy to grow in Kapunda.  The can be planted at any time from April until August and grow in most kinds of soil despite irregular rain and little care.  The soil in Kapunda is quite alkaline, has a thin layer of topsoil and beneath that is limestone... not very promising, but even before the soil has been improved,  broad beans seem to grow quite well.  They flower as soon as the days begin to get longer, and as soon as the temperature is above about 16-18C, they begin to produce little pods.  By now, when day time temperatures are in the 20's, my plants produce more than we can eat.  I have about 60-80 plants that are currently producing.  Aside from eating them pods and all, and later as beans in an assortment of guises, there are plenty to preserve for later.  Not only that, but these are one of the easiest vegetables to keep for later.
One of my Facebook friends asked me how to freeze them and it generated quite a bit of conversation, and so here is my method...
This is a typical daily "pick" at this time of the year...
 These are shelled to produce about 500g of beans like this....
Now back to yesterday's crop.... and these have been dropped into boiling salted water for about 4-5 minutes and then cooled quickly in cold water, dried and spread onto a baking tray and frozen overnight.
... carefull removed from the tray....
.... bagged and in the freezer....
This is the way that I preserve these since I have had a freezer (12 months now.)

Before that,  I used to bottle them using my Fowler's Vacola bottling outfit.  They are a little soggier and the liquid is slightly milky,  but they are just as useful for making my "risi e fagioli" when the beans are out of season.

6 comments:

Nikk said...

Bloody lovely. I love cooking with broad-beans. I got a great Italian soup cook book a while ago and there are 7 broad-bean centric recipes. My favorite is a chilled broad-bean and mint gazpacho. When it heats up a bit I'll make it again, definitely a summer soup.

Jane said...

Mmmm... we often have soup here. And the last of the beans that are left after planting are the "minestrone beans" that need lots of cooking in a pretty substantial soup.
I have an interesting recipe with broad beans and artichokes (because artichokes happen at the same time) and I've written about this before... about how "peasant food" turns out to include ingredients that are available at the same time... those peasant house wives were pretty clever!
Needless to say, broad beans are one of my favourites also.

frogpondsrock said...

Hi I am sitting here podding broad beans and I wanted to preserve them. I generally freeze them but I wanted to bottle some this year and google landed me here :) cheers Kim

Jane said...

Hi Kim,
The method that I have used to bottle broad beans comes from the Fowlers Vacola Book.
They suggest cooking them for 10 minutes first, though I cook them for about 5 minutes. Throw away that water.
Then put the beans in to a brine made with half an oz of salt and a pint of water, in the jars. Sterilise in the pan for about half an hour at 200F. The recipe also asks it to be sterilised again after 48 hours, though I have never done that.
The result is a little bit "milky " looking, but perfectly ok to use.
Let me know how it goes :-)

usefulmusic said...

Is it possible - rather, will they taste good - if, having boiled the broad beans for 5 mins, they are preserved in dilute vinegar?

Graham

Jane said...

Graham,

I've never tried that, but a long as the vinegar is strong enough to pickle them (as with other kinds of pickles) they would "keep" but I don't know how they'd taste. I'd say that it's worth a try.

I have seen the immature pods sliced lengthwise and pickled like that... something like Italian antipasto vegetables. Come to think of it, I'll bet Italian housewives, back in the day, have tried this already... pickled broad beans.