Broad beans are very prolific plants and you’ll soon find that you are overrun with them! This presents the perfect opportunity to pop some bags into the freezer for use in the winter months.
Before you freeze all your beans, take a look at our broad bean recipes.
Harvesting Broad Beans
Broad beans will be ready for picking about 3-4 months after sowing. When the beans begin to show through the pods, then it is time to pick them. If you squeeze the pod gently you will also be able to feel how big the beans are. It’s better to have tasty tender small beans, than large tough ones! If the scar on the bean (the hilium) is black then you have left it a little late to harvest and the bean will be tougher. You want to harvest when the hilium is still white. Remove the pods from the plant by pulling downwards and twisting slightly. Be careful not to damage or bend the stem. Broad beans mature in succession from the bottom of the plant upwards, so you will get several pickings from each plant.
If you can’t manage to eat them all, you can freeze them. Broad beans are one of the most successful vegetables for freezing in our experience.
Freezing Broad Beans
Freezing broad beans is an excellent way of storing them. If you grow a good double row of broad beans, you will inevitably end up with far more than you can eat (or after a couple of weeks, face to eat!) and we’ve found freezing works very well. To freeze broad beans…
|Pick youngish broad beans, before their skins tend to toughen up for freezing. Have two pans of water, one on the heat boiling and one filled with ice cold water. You’ll also need a colander. Plunge the freshly picked broad beans into the boiling water and boil for 1 minute only. This is called ‘blanching’.|
|As soon as the broad beans have been blanched, you want to stop them cooking any further, so pour them through the colander and then plunge them into ice cold water and leave them for about 2 minutes.|
|Using the colander again, remove the broad beans from the water and try to remove as much water from them as possible without causing damage. Place them in a plastic bag and if you’re going for perfection, remove the air from the bag with a straw. Seal the bag and place it in the fast freeze section of your freezer until the beans are completely frozen. You can now move them into the main part of your freezer and look forward to them in winter!|
1. Growing Broad Beans – QUICKSTART GUIDE
2. Planting Broad Beans – Information on sowing and planting broad beans
3. Picking and Freezing Broad Beans – How to pick and store broad beans
4. Broad Bean Tips – Helpful growing and harvesting tips to help you along your way
5. Broad Bean Pests, Problems and Diseases – Helpful advice when things go wrong in the veg patch
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