Rachel's Blog: The Mysterious Plant, or, Do Me a Fava and Get Rid of Those Beans.

Thu, 18 Oct 2007

There are often odd little plants that pop up in our garden, largely because I garden in a lazy and experimental fashion. Something new appears and I give it the benefit of the doubt, waiting to see what it turns out to be. I call it the "It Doesn't Look Like a Weed" Theory.

So when two green seedlings grew out of an otherwise unoccupied garden bed I did the only natural thing: Avoided pulling them out. They grew cute little purple and white flowers. So far so good. I was told they must be peas — we've had them appear before due to using pea straw as mulch, but these were no pea.

A couple of days ago I noticed long green pods on them. "Ah, well, they must be peas," I said, and promptly ate a couple. Tasty.

I noticed they were much embiggened today, so I opened another pod for inspection. Considering there are only two vegetables that I was scarred with as a child*, I was not happy with what I saw, but sure enough they were broad beans.

Can't let a free veggie go to waste however, and I can't imprint Abbey entirely with my own tastes, so we picked a handful to have with dinner. Abbey shelled them as I got the rest of the meal ready. They were young, so I just boiled them for five minutes. Then the ultimate test.


Not bad. They are certainly a very savoury bean. None of the sweetness you get with a young pea or green bean. Not going to become a favourite, but bearable. So I put my previous experiences down to having older, tougher beans as a kid. Abbey was very keen to eat them. Didn't even want to wait until they were cooked. Once dinner was served she ate two. Then she said she was saving the rest and ate everything else. "Later", she said, "For a special treat. Dessert." Finally when the rest of her plate was scraped clean and only a tiny pile of bright, grey-green beans remained, she pushed the plate away. "I don't like them."

Vindicated! I knew it! Guess what's getting "weeded" tomorrow?

*The other being brussels sprouts.