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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

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Rachel Friesen - I’ve never had a broad bean, though I did get my first chance at shelling, cooking, and eating home-grown navy beans. The heaps of twisted white pods didn’t amount to as many beans as I’d expected, but the little we had was just heavenly. Those little white beans plumped up beautifully and absorbed an amazing amount of flavour. I never thought I’d be raving about a bean – I’ll have to find a source for next year.

Kate Bailward - I love young broad beans which you can eat whole, pods and all. I tend to toss them in olive oil with anchovies, rosemary, oregano, sea salt, garlic and chilli flakes. I leave them to macerate for a short while and then chuck them onto a smoking hot grill. When they’re soft, toss them back into the olive-oily bowl and turn them about for them to soak up all the flavour. Eat them with your fingers, still warm – delicious!

When they get bigger and tougher I’m not such a fan (mainly for reasons of laziness, because shelling them is a pain), but if someone else does the work then I still enjoy the taste. 😉 Here in Italy they’re often served simply with drizzled with olive oil alongside pecorino cheese and I can confirm that it’s a taste combination that really works.

Krista - Mmm, tiny onions and pancetta sound like they would be brilliant with these beans, GG. 🙂

Krista - They were definitely new to me too, Tracy. 🙂 A fun discovery, though!

Krista - Oh thank you, @joanneeatswellwithothers:disqus 🙂 It was a beautiful day, even with the searing heat. 🙂

Krista - Aren’t they fantastic, @OrgasmicChef:disqus ? 🙂

Krista - It truly was worth it, @GourmetGetaway:disqus 🙂

Krista - As I sit here in sweltering heat, it is lovely to imagine snow falling somewhere, @coffeeandcrumpets:disqus 🙂 Thank you so much for your gorgeous recipe ideas, Nazneen. They truly sound absolutely scrumptious. 🙂

Krista - I’ve really missed chatting with you, @disqus_WseMqaTPwi:disqus , and am so glad I’m back “in the land of the living” again. 🙂

Krista - Ohhhh, I didn’t realize they were favas, @karin_stienemeier:disqus 🙂 The last of my favas are gone now, but when Spring comes around next year I will definitely look up your scrumptious recipes. 🙂

Krista - I confess I didn’t like them until Bear made breakfast one morning, @liz_posmyk:disqus 🙂 He took steamed broad beans, fried them with caramelized onions, and put them on buttered toast drizzled with a bit of sweet chili sauce. I could eat that ANY time. 🙂

Krista - I’m so glad you mentioned Greek dishes, @disqus_2LQ5qLN5aY:disqus I will definitely look those up. 🙂

Krista - I was so impressed by how easy they were to grow, @tandysinclair:disqus , AND by how big they grew!

Glamorous Glutton - It looks like a wonderful day full of sunshine and family. What a truly amazing couple. Broad beans are a staple veg in the UK. We eat them fresh in summer and frozen in winter. I like them cooked with tiny onions and a little pancetta. I usually take off the skin of the bean too. A bit fiddly but a much nicer flavour. GG

Tracy A. - I don’t think that I’ve ever eaten or senna a broad bean! What a wonderful day, with wonderful neighbors!

Joanne (eats well with others) - Such a fun outing! The sun looks good on you. 🙂

Gourmet Getaways - Four buckets of beans! Wow!!! With all the heat, I must agree it was all worth it, Krista! Fun n’ beans 😉

Gourmet Getaways xx

Maureen | OrgasmicChef - I have grown broad beans but like you, I’d never eaten them before. This couple is amazing!

Coffee and Crumpets - What gorgeous photos, and lovely fields and flowers! Beautiful. We just got our first snow today so looking at your warm photos is very appealing! Those are some gorgeous beans! I like broad beans, especially in a Persian style rice with dill and beans…so good! The dried versions make wonderful Middle Easten dish called fooul, slow cooked beans with tomatoes and spices lots of olive oil. I like to serve a fresh tomato cucumber salsa on top of mine, perfect with some warm pita bread. And they are such a cute couple! You look gorgeous in that photo by the way 🙂


Krista - I do love that filtered light, Susan. 🙂 It feels so summery. 🙂

Jackie Smith - Oh I wrote in response to your comment on Travelnwrite that I had just been thinking of you and wondering what you were up to. . .and then this wonderful post appeared in my reading list. We’ve never quite figured out the best use of the flat bean but we are lovers of beans so I am certain we would figure out something. Loved the story of your outing. Hugs to you~ Jackie

Karin Stienemeier - We call them fava beans and they are one of my absolute favorite vegetables. Not only for their great taste but also for the soothing joy of going through the many step until you reach the inner core of the beans. See my favorite recipes and my reflections on them when you enter fava in my blog’s search field. Enjoy your bounty!

Liz Posmyk - Hi Krista, what a fabulous day out! And what wonderful neighbours you have. Broad beans and I don’t see eye to eye…. but I know that so many others love them. Enjoy xox

Tandy Sinclair - how amazing! I have to start growing these as soon as I can 🙂

bellini - I have never tried a broad bean Krista but there are Greek bean dishes I have tried and enjoyed that could be adapted and the version of hummus you mention sounds wonderful. How lucky to be the recipient of so many to experiment with. Oma and Opa are amazing!!!!

thefisherlady - the sun coming through your straw hat to meet your joy says it all

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