Click here to print this page

Planning Retirement Online

Health Food of the month - Broad beans

June 2017


The time is ripe to enjoy broad beans


Previous Health Foods of the Month...

Kiwi fruit

Cabbage

Venison


 

Diet & Supplements Index

Waitrose Recipes

Broad beans are not everyone’s favourite. Undercooked they can be too hard to enjoy; overcooking can mean they lose their natural flavour and texture. Sometimes the skin is left on and can make the beans chewy.

In fact there are all sorts of reasons why they are not everyone’s top choice of vegetable…which is a shame because cooked well they are a wonderful tasty food…and even better, they are really good for us.

Broad beans come under a species of a flowering plant which belongs to the vetch and pea family. It is a very old vegetable and has been cultivated in the Middle East for well over 5,000 years and perhaps nearer 10,000. Under another name for the same vegetable, fava bean, has been found right across early human settlements, even in Egyptian tombs.

The bean spread to the UK early on and has different varieties, with horse bean and field bean versions of broad beans being grown for cattle food.

But for us, the name broad bean is used for a large seeded cultivar that provides very individual kidney shaped beans.

The broad bean plants grow to around 3 or 4 feet (90 – 120cm) tall with bluish grey-green leaves and white flowers with little black dots.  These give way to pods between 5 – 10cm long which contain these lovely broad beans we enjoy.

Broad beans are most reliable in late spring and early summer, when they will appear in farmers’ markets and other shops fresh and ready for cooking. You can also buy them frozen all year.

The beans are especially rich in protein and in fibre. They contain no polyunsaturated fat or monounsaturated fat, and a trace only of saturated fat. They also have zero cholesterol.

So far so good, but what adds to the uniqueness of broad beans is their additional very good content of key vitamins and minerals. Broad beans contain vitamin A, C, D, B-6 and B-12 plus calcium, iron and magnesium. They also contain iron, manganese, phosphorus and folate.

If you have struggled making them tasty, the key is the cold water trick. Remove the beans from their pods and boil the beans in a small saucepan of water just for around two minutes or so and then drain. Then place the beans directly into a bowl of cold water. Then you can pop the tender, bright green beans out of the thicker, leather skins and they are ready to add to any recipe or enjoy on their own as a vegetable.

 

 


Bookmark This Share on Facebook Receive more like this

 

Latest Articles:

Health food of the month: Goose

Picture of cooked goose

Turkey might still be the top favourite for that special Christmas meal, but there is also a growing trend to cook a goose instead.

more

AXA Health: Top 10 alternatives to brisk walking

Brisk walking is a great form of moderate aerobic exercise, but if it’s not for you, here are AXA's top 10 activities that will also give your heart a work out.

more

Can shopping be addictive?

Picture of woman carrying wrapped presents

For some of us, Christmas is an especially dangerous time. When we come home laden with parcels, someone might well joke we are shopaholics...but actually this is a medical condition that should not be treated lightly.

more

Visiting the doctor may not be the best idea this winter

Nurse giving old woman injection

Sometimes, when we feel we have a problem and take ourselves off to see our doctor or even the local A&E department, would we in fact have been better in treating the problem ourselves?

more

Back to LaterLife Health Section

Visit our Pre-retirement Courses section here on laterlife or our dedicated Retirement Courses site

Bookmark


Advertise on laterlife.com



LaterLife Travel Insurance in Association with Avanti