Picking Broad Beans with Oma
It has been such a peaceful and relaxing weekend, full of all the good, happy things that nourish and restore a battered body and spirit. It’s been so lovely to have this little break, to be able to dream and plan and talk over all sorts of ideas with Bear without any pressure to do anything until later. I read three books, watched all sorts of interesting movies from the library, and napped as often as possible. We ate potato salad and fresh asparagus and homemade brioche toasted and topped with mayonnaise and the ripest of Roma tomatoes. It was just what I needed, what we needed. We’re ready to face the world again.
Early last week we received a phone call from Oma urging us to get over to her place as soon as humanly possible to help use up her outrageous bumper crop of broad beans. So we packed up buckets and water bottles, tracked down fly spray, sunhats, and boots, and we were off.
I love Oma and Opa’s place with its babble of turkeys, ducks, and chickens, friendly dogs running about, and dirt tracks meandering around old barns and past fields of barley. It’s a comfy place, unpretentious and thoroughly welcoming.
On this morning, the heat was blistering, hitting us full in the face as we climbed out of the car. And flies must’ve been hosting a convention in the broad bean patch, for they were EVERYWHERE, dive bombing us with glee.
But even sweltering temperatures and hordes of flies couldn’t detract from the incredible beauty of flowering fields, blue skies, and good mates.
Oma wasn’t kidding when she suggested that we bring a trailer instead of buckets to collect broad beans. The bushes were covered with huge pods stuffed with fat beans.
I’d never eaten, seen, or picked a broad bean until this Spring, and I find them quite interesting veggies. The insides of the pods are lined with a soft, natural fleece that pillows each bean like a sleeping bag. I remember watching an episode of River Cottage where the host said that if he could come back to earth as a vegetable, he would choose to be a broad bean because it’s so cozy in their pods.
With such a bumper crop of big beans, it didn’t take long to fill our buckets. A good thing too, for we were melting.
Nothing quite like picking beans hunched over in searing sunshine to put color in your cheeks. 🙂
It was worth it though. Bear and I ended up with four buckets of broad beans, ready to be turned into beans on toast, packets of beans for the freezer, or a broad bean version of hummus.
We packed up the buckets and gratefully cranked up the air conditioning as we drove slowly back to the house.
A while ago Oma and Opa’s house burned to the ground. Instead of hiring someone to rebuild for them, these spry 80-somethings decided to do it themselves!! Every day they’re outside cutting sheet rock, spray painting railings, or taking measurements for windows and doors. While they potter away, they’re living in a caravan on the farm, and have turned the newly built basement into a multi-purpose room that serves as kitchen, dining room, store house, you name it. Oma even has big hunks of prosciutto curing in the back. They amaze me.
They welcomed us in to the cool basement and we had a jolly time swapping stories and sipping glass after icy glass of Oma’s magical raspberry cordial. For years I wondered what all the fuss was about in Anne of Green Gables regarding raspberry cordial. Now I know. It is truly bliss in a glass.
Have you ever grown, picked, or cooked with broad beans? What is your favorite way to use them? xo