Did you know there's a whole web page dedicated to bean words? I came across it seeking inspiration for this post title; let's face it, there are only so many ways you can sell a post about beans - even in the height of summer! My favourites? (and I will try and work these into future posts) Clan of the Cave Bean, Love me tendril and The Unbearable Lightness of Bean. No? Alright, then.
But I digress... When I cleared my first sowing of broad beans a couple of weeks ago, instead of just freezing the pods, I found this recipe in Nigel Slater's Tender Vol One book; it's quick, easy, delicious. If I ever get time to loaf around with a glass of wine/beer/gin (not in the same glass or even sitting) one warm balmy evening, this would be the perfect accompaniment, dipped into with some flatbreads, pitta or other dippers of choice. I mean, why buy supermarket hummus when you can easily make your own - and even better if the veg has come from your own patch! Nigel Slater claims to use this recipe for older, starchier beans but I found it good enough to justify growing beans for this purpose. I do love my snacks.
Have I mentioned that I did a double sowing of broad beans this year? It was an experiment on several levels: I wanted to see if I could successfully extend the broad bean harvest with two sowings, and this second sowing was also a trial of Marshall's Seeds Red Epicure beans which they kindly sent me.
Just over two months later, I'm very pleased with the results. I have a second crop of beans. The seeds were sown direct in mid-May, every one germinated within a couple of weeks and the plants grew strongly. There were no pests and the plants quickly matched the first sowing in height. The flowers were as expected (white/black) and prolific, the promise of many pods to come. Which they did. I picked a few at the finger pod stage; those tiny beans, eaten straight from the pod, were delicious - on a par with, if not surpassing, my favourite Karmazyn beans. The mature pods are beautifully shiny and bright green, the beans inside shiny skinned like little red conkers. The skins allegedly stay red when lightly steamed but I'll be skinning them for a summer salad or another bowl of hummus.
|Above: 5 weeks after sowing. Red Epicure in first rows in front of Karmazyn at back with pods.|
|7 weeks after sowing. In flower while Karmazyn beans behind are ready for picking.|
|10 to 11 weeks after sowing. Pods looking good but leaves have a tiny touch of rust. Solution is to prune the leaves off.|
|Red Epicure beans looking pink in the evening sunlight.|
I'll definitely be growing these again next year, especially now I have the allotment space to grow a lot more - who wouldn't love the look of pink beans to brighten a plate of food!