Broad beans

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Broad beans in the pod
Fried broad beans

Vicia faba, the broad bean, fava bean, faba bean, horse bean, field bean, bell bean or tic bean is a species of bean (Fabaceae) native to north Africa and southwest Asia, and extensively cultivated elsewhere.

Culinary uses

Broad beans are eaten while still young and tender, enabling harvesting to begin as early as the middle of spring for plants started under glass or overwintered in a protected location, but even the main crop sown in early spring will be ready from mid to late summer. Horse beans, left to mature fully, are usually harvested in the late autumn.

The beans can be fried, causing the skin to split open, and then salted and/or spiced to produce a savoury crunchy snack. These are popular in China, Peru (habas saladas), Mexico (habas con chile) and in Thailand (where their name means "open mouth nut").

In the Sichuan cuisine of China, broad beans are combined with soybeans and chili peppers to produce a spicy fermented bean paste called doubanjiang.

In most Arab countries the fava bean is used for a breakfast meal called ful medames. Ful medames is usually crushed fava beans in a sauce although the Fava beans do not have to be crushed.

In Iran, cooked broad beans served with pepper and salt are sold on streets in winter. This food is also available conserved in metal cans.

How to cook broad beans in a pressure cooker

Use this basic guide if you do not have a specific recipe

  • Pick through the beans and discard any discoloured beans or loose skins
  • Soak in cold water for a minimum of the time shown, soaking overnight is usually the best way to achieve this
  • Change soaking water a few times if possible
  • Never cook the beans in the water they were soaked in
  • Rinse the beans well at the end of the soaking period
  • Ensure the pressure cooker is at least a quarter full
  • Never fill the pressure cooker more than half full
  • Always cover the beans with at least 5 cm (2") water
  • Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the water - this reduces foaming
  • Allow the pressure cooker to get to the required pressure and then begin timing
  • Use the specified pressure release method - this is the natural method in the case of dried beans or pulses
  • A bean is usually perfectly cooked when it can be easily squashed between your forefinger and thumb
  • If the beans are not sufficiently cooked, return to pressure, cook for another 3 minutes and allow the pressure to reduce using the natural method.
  • Check that the beans are cooked to your liking.
BEAN VARIETY COLD WATER SOAK TIME
minimum period
PRESSURE COOKING TIME COOKING PRESSURE
High = 15 psi
Medium = 10 psi
Low = 5 psi
PRESSURE RELEASE METHOD
Broad beans 8 hours 4 minutes Medium Natural

Seasonal Information: Broad beans

This information is specifically for countries in the northern temperate zone of the Northern Hemisphere; particularly the United Kingdom, however it should be applicable for northern USA, northern Europe, Canada, Russia, etc.

Broad beans are at their best and in season during the following months: June, July & August.

5 a day; fruit and vegetable portion sizes

We have recently started to take delivery of a weekly organic fruit and vegetable box which has of course heightened our interest in the 5 a day fruit and vegetable regime. This simple app will show you what makes up one of your 5 a day portions of vegetables. You'll be surprised how small the quantities are in some instances. You'll be able to eat healthier and feel all the better for it.

Select a fruit or vegetable from the picker below to see what its daily portion consists of

What are you waiting for? Pick your fruit and veg now!
3 heaped tablespoons of tinned Ackee
2 Globe Artichoke hearts
7 spears of tinned asparagus
5 spears of fresh asparagus
One third of an Aubergine/Eggplant
3 heaped tablespoons of barlotti beans
3 heaped tablespoons of black-eyed beans
3 heaped tablespoons of broad beans
3 heaped tablespoons of butter beans
3 heaped tablespoons of cannellini beans
4 heaped tablespoons of French beans
3 heaped tablespoons of kidney beans
3 heaped tablespoons of pinto beans
4 heaped tablespoons of runner beans
3 heaped tablespoons of soya beans
2 handfuls of fresh bean sprouts
3 whole bottled beetroot
3 whole fresh baby beetroot
2 spears of broccoli
8 Brussels sprouts
3 heaped tablespoons of butternut squash
2 handfuls of sliced cabbage
3 heaped tablespoons of shredded cabbage
3 heaped tablespoons of tinned carrots
3 heaped tablespoons of fresh carrot slices
8 florets of cauliflower
3 sticks of celery
3 heaped tablespoons of chickpeas
One fifth of a head of Chinese leaves
Half a large courgette
5 cm (2 inch) piece of cucumber
4 heaped tablespoons of curly kale
Half a karela (bitter melon)
1 leek (white portion only)
3 tablespoons of lentils
1 cereal bowl of lettuce (mixed leaves)
1 handful of mange-tout
3 heaped tablespoons of marrow
3 tablespoons of frozen mixed vegetables
14 mushrooms
2 tablespoons of dried mushrooms
16 medium Okra
1 medium Onion
3 heaped tablespoons of pak choi (Chinese cabbage)
1 large Parsnip
3 heaped tablespoons of tinned peas
3 heaped tablespoons of fresh peas
3 heaped tablespoons of frozen peas
Half a tinned sweet pepper
Half a bottled sweet pepper
Half a fresh sweet pepper
3 heaped tablespoons of tinned pigeon peas
3 heaped tablespoons of pumpkin
10 Radishes
2 heaped tablespoons of cooked spinach
1 cereal bowl of fresh spinach leaves
4 heaped tablespoons of cooked spring greens
8 spring onions
1 handful of sugar snap peas
3 heaped tablespoons of swede
1 large sweet potato
6 baby sweetcorn
3 heaped tablespoons of tinned sweetcorn
1 whole sweetcorn cob
1 heaped tablespoon of tomato puree
2 whole tinned plum tomatoes
1 whole fresh tomato
7 fresh cherry tomatoes
3 heaped tablespoons of turnip
150ml glass of unsweetened vegetable juice
150ml glass of vegetable smoothie
1 cereal bowl of fresh watercress
1 fresh apple
2 heaped tablespoons of apple puree
6 halves of unsweetened tinned apricots
3 whole fresh apricots
Half an avocado
1 banana
10 blackberries
4 heaped tablespoons of blackcurrants
4 heaped tablespoons of blueberries
11 tinned cherries
14 fresh cherries
2 clementines
6 damsons
3 fresh dates
2 fresh figs
150ml glass of unsweetened fruit juice
3 heaped tablespoons of tinned fruit salad
3 heaped tablespoons of fresh fruit salad
150ml glass of fruit smoothie
1 handful of gooseberries
8 segments of tinned grapefruit
half a fresh grapefruit
1 handful of grapes
2 kiwi fruit
8 Kumquats
6 tinned lychees
6 fresh lychees
3 heaped tablespoons of tinned mandarin oranges
1 fresh mandarin orange
2 slices of fresh mango (5cm or 2 inch)
1 slice of melon (5cm or 2 inch)
1 nectarine
1 orange
6 passion fruits
1 slice of pawpaw (papaya)
2 halves of tinned peaches
1 fresh peach
2 halves of tinned pears
1 fresh pear
2 rings of tinned pineapple
3 tablespoons of crushed pineapple
1 large slice of fresh pineapple
2 plums
6 tinned prunes
3 prunes
20 tinned raspberries
2 handfuls of fresh raspberries
5 chunks of tinned rhubarb
2 heaped tablespoons of cooked rhubarb
2 satsumas
1 sharon fruit
9 tinned strawberries
7 fresh strawberries
1 heaped tablespoon of sultanas
2 tangerines
1 heaped tablespoon of tomato puree
2 tinned whole tinned plum tomatoes
1 large fresh tomato
7 fresh cherry tomatoes
4 dried apple rings
3 whole dried apricots
1 handful of dried banana chips
1 heaped tablespoon of dried cherries
1 heaped tablespoon of dried cranberries
1 heaped tablespoon of dried currants
2 dried figs
1 heaped tablespoon of dried mangoes
1 heaped tablespoon of dried mixed fruit
2 halves of dried peaches
2 halves of dried pear
1 heaped tablespoon of dried pineapple
3 dried prunes
1 tablespoon of raisins
4 sundried tomatoes

See also