Elizabeth McLeod, will be joining Lee Greens as Buyer & Co-ordinator from the end of June. Elizabeth is an accomplished vegetable grower and has been a part of the Lee Green's Packing Team for 2 years. She's written us as ode to one of our current star ingredients - the broad bean.
It was my dad who introduced me to growing broad beans, working on my garden in autumn and keen to plant something. I was skeptical as the days got colder and darker but up the little seedlings came, and right through the winter they held strong. Even the aphids didn't do too much harm. There were beautiful crimson flowers that the bees loved. And come spring they were ready to harvest.
Then came the joy of podding – removing the beans from their velvety cases. And a second pod once cooked for the bigger ones. A little time consuming but very satisfying!
Broad beans, or fava beans, as they're known in America, are part of the legumes family and have been around for thousands of years - they were part of an eastern Mediterranean diet around 6000 BCE. They're easy to grow and can be planted in either autumn (for a slightly earlier crop) or spring. They're also good for fixing nitrogen in the soil.
They've been making an appearance in the bags lately and there's loads of things to do with them (add to salads, stews, broad bean hummus - or this salsa we just enthusiastically shared). But they won't be around for long so enjoy them while they're here. Or even get them in the freezer to enjoy later, they're great added to salads after defrosting.
By Elizabeth McLeod, Lee Greens Team