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Blog: Broad beans are brilliant, as long as they are podded!

Blog: Broad beans are brilliant, as long as they are podded!

Are you looking for a seriously good activity to engage and occupy an irritating presence in your kitchen?-read flat mate/child/spouse/partner… Then look no further. Give them a mountain of broad beans to pod.

Broad beans add colour and vibrancy to the plate. They encapsulate the green-ness of early summer. They taste how they look in their pod-less state – sweet, fresh and delicious. That is the reason they should be relished now, early in the season, before their tough outer-skin becomes even thicker. It is also the reason that podders are a necessity, for failing to pod a mid-season broad bean does not bear thinking about. By leaving that sumptuous bean encased in that chewy, leathery, phlegm-shaded case is an injustice to the vegetable. It's like spending time with Cara Delevingne in a sumo wrestler suit. There is no point in being slovenly about it, it matters what that bean looks like underneath. Why serve Dr Jekyll when you can serve Dr Hyde.

As soon as those sweet little beans are released from their unappetising skins, they should be immediately popped into the pot. The versatility of the British broad bean means that it can add a splash of colour and flavour to any dish. To give lamb stew a summery feel for a rain-soaked June lunch, throw in some [podded] broad beans. If you are looking for a fresh, seasonal canapé try crushed broad beans with lemon on crostini. They are a great injection of colour to risottos and pasta dishes and add brilliant texture to a green salad. They can be made into dips or puréed and served with a little fried garlic, to be served alongside some British pork.

The British have been cultivating and consuming broad beans since the Iron Age, although admittedly in more recent times they have become slightly unfashionable – mainly because consumers couldn't be bothered to pod them. Fortunately this has not deterred farmers from growing them. They are a reliable, disease resistant vegetable and with the exception of five years ago, when the UK was in the grip of a national shortage of broad beans due to an invasion of African beetles, farmers have continued to grow them because they play an important part in our crop rotation system. Whilst a large percentage of British broad beans are exported they are finally returning to favour in the UK and are beginning to be re-appreciated for the beautiful, flavoursome vegetable they are.

So don't shy away from broads this season and make the most of this brilliant bean. They are at their best until mid-July.

The Sauce

Try this warm new potato, broad bean and chorizo salad with garlic mayonnaiseClick here for step by step instructions on how to prepare the broad beans.

What ingredients did you use and how readily available were they?

800g British new potatoes
600g unpodded British broad beans
1 Yorkshire Chorizo sausage - Yorkshire Chorizo is a fully cured sausage containing British Pork - £7.50
British watercress
British lettuce leaves
Farrington's Mellow Yellow Garlic Mayonnaise