One of the easiest and most prolific crop producing plants I have ever grown are broad beans. All that you need to do is sow the seed in Autumn, around the end of September or early October in the UK. Make sure the growing plants don’t dry out, which is not usually a problem in Winter or early Spring and then just pick the beans in early May.
Now, because broad beans do produce so many beans per plant, people are often left with a large amount of unused beans that they cannot use before they go bad.
So what do most people do? That’s right, throw them away.
And I get it. I mean, who really wants to eat broad beans every single day? But there is another option that is going to allow you to keep your broad beans throughout the entire year…and it’s achieved by “Blanching” them.
What is Blanching?
Blanching is a term used to describe the act of par boiling vegetables before you freeze them.
This involves plunging them in boiling water for no longer than 60 seconds then cooling them rapidly in ice cold water.
The idea is to kill off any bacteria but not to actually cook the beans. Depending on how many broad beans you have this can be quite a time consuming process and although you can freeze broad beans without blanching, I do strongly recommend that you do as it will prolong their shelf life.
Why blanch broad beans before freezing
Once blanched, broad beans will store in a domestic freezer for up to 12 months. This means that you can enjoy broad beans all year round. Broad beans do not suffer any loss in flavour or texture from being frozen so are an ideal vegetable to freeze.
I bag mine in a family sized portion and freeze so that whenever we want to have broad beans with our meal I just have to remove one bag and boil for about 5 minutes.
I cannot stress enough that blanching should be kept to no longer than 60 seconds and the cooling down should be immediate and rapid. Otherwise when you do cook your frozen beans they will be over cooked and mushy.
And that is literally all you need to do to preserve your broad beans for an extra 12 months.
This is going to save you money on vegetables and is also a great way to stop unnecessarily wasting food.