How to prepare and cook broad beans

by Mandy Mazliah 28 Comments

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Many people don’t know how to prepare broad beans. Double podding, or double shelling, broad beans is the process by which you remove the tough outer skins, exposing the beautifully tender bright green beans.

If you think you don’t like broad beans you’ve probably only had the slightly chewy, greyish un-podded beans and you should definitely give this a try. In fact I would go so far as to say that they’re not really worth eating unless you double pod them.

Back in 2011 (I remember the year clearly because I not only had a 16-month old toddler I was also five months pregnant with my second baby) I helped cater for a friend’s wedding. I don’t remember what the exact dish was now but I do remember double podding hundreds of broad beans. It took me AGES.

Blanching the broad beans speeds up the podding process

And then a couple of years later I learnt that if you blanch the broad beans it is about a gazillion times easier to double pod them. If only I’d known that in August 2011…

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Since then I’ve always followed this method when I cook broad beans. The other day I thought I’d write the method up in a blog post in case there is anyone who like me knows to double pod their broad beans but doesn’t know that they need to blanch them first.

I know a lot more about cooking vegetables these days than I used to!

What are broad beans?

Broad beans are also known as fava beans. The outer seed pod can only be eaten in very young beans. Otherwise it’s the seeds within the pods that you want to eat.

Broad beans are popular in Middle Eastern, Chinese, South American and African cuisine. Dishes made with broad beans include:

  • falafel
  • ful medames
  • Mexican bean soup.

See more dishes made with broad beans.

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Here’s how to prepare broad beans

  1. Remove the beans from their outer pods.

2. You’ll be left with beans that look like this.

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3. Place in a pan of boiling water and boil for 2 minutes.

4. Drain and immediately place in very cold, or iced, water to stop the cooking process.

5. Gently squeeze each bean until the inner section pops out.

6. Discard the outer skins.

If you find it boring then it’s ok to eat a few along the way to motivate you!

What to do with your cooked broad beans

You can add your broad beans to a salad or eat them cold as they are. 

Alternatively you can gently reheat them in a pan or by stirring into a risotto or pasta dish.

Or try making something with them like these filo parcels with broad bean, feta and dill.

Pin how to prepare broad beans for later

How to cook broad beans

How to prepare and cook broad beans

How to prepare broad beans

Double podding, or double shelling, broad beans is the process by which you remove the tough outer skins, exposing the beautifully tender bright green beans.

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Prep Time 15 mins

Cook Time 2 mins

Course Side Dish

Cuisine British

Instructions 

  • Remove the beans from their outer pods (see pictures above)

  •  Place the beans in a pan of boiling water and boil for 2 minutes.

  • Drain and immediately place in very cold, or iced, water to stop the cooking process.

  • Gently squeeze each bean until the inner section pops out. Discard the outer skins.

  • Add to a salad, reheat, or stir into a risotto or pasta dish.

If you like this you might also like this recipe for green beans with tomatoes and black olives.

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