Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Broad bean tasting and another rant

Today it was a bit windy and cool to do much outside (yes I am a wuss) so I decided to do a taste test of my broad beans.

I currently grow three varieties of broad bean: Violetta, Gippsland Giant, and Crimson Flowered.

I soaked the dry beans overnight and today boiled them in the microwave till they were soft. This took 5 minutes but I suppose it might have taken longer if they had been longer in storage. I did not double peel them, I really don't think they need it.

I was very happy with the results and realised that I had always assumed that I did not like them and maybe I had never even tasted them in my life, I can't remember every having them served up to me.

Anyway, I found that they are actually quite delicious, even without adding things like butter.

Violetta - These beans have a bitter seed coat when they are immature and fresh so I was surprised that they lost all sign of bitterness when cooked. They only lost a bit of their dark purple colour though I imagine they would loose more if cooked longer.
These beans were sweet and nutty, starchy and really good.

Gippsland Giant - These beans are very tender and mild after cooking and the seed coat was tender and would not need double peeling as they were not tough at all.

Crimson flowered - These beans retained their unusual fruity flavouring after cooking. The seed coat was a little tough but not worth taking off as the beans are so small. It was interesting to note that these beans, though small, needed more cooking than the others.

I am going to be testing a few other broad beans varieties next year, some that are not commonly available in Australia and you will not have heard of. They come in interesting colours and, hopefully, flavours.

My very rare mauka plants are really loving the weather and growing strongly. The edible bases are expanding and I hope they come through the summer ok.

I am pleased with the taste of the leaves and I hope this will be of considerable interest in Australia next spring when I will have plants to sell.

Now for my rant -

 I am really sick of seeing all the mislabeled, misleading, photoshopped, and fake plant seed listings on Ebay. It must be really disappointing for a new gardener who wants to try something different to find that the seeds he planted turn out to be nothing like what he ordered.
I understand that Ebay can't do much about these fake listings as their workers are office people and would not know what is real or not, and by the time a plant has grown and the gardener realises it is not right it is too late to give the seller a black mark.

I realise that if Ebay did employ a gardener to go through millions of listing that person may still not know about rare plants and delist things like white fleshed watermelongs, for example but there must be something they can do.

Listings for multi coloured bananas, 'rainbow' roses, blue watermelon etc can fool new gardeners but even a fairly good gardener can be sucked in by things like Chinese mislabeled 'Glass Gem' corn, then after they grow it they package and resell their own seed, which they then mislabel as ' Glass Gem' which muddies the variety to the detriment of all gardeners.

The Chinese sellers are the worst but there are also plenty of bad Australian sellers like the lady selling Saffron seeds which are clearly safflower seed (saffron doesn't produce viable seed FYI). I have emailed her in case it was a mistake but she is still selling the seed as saffron. I suppose she doesn't care as she also has 'rainbow' roses in her shop.
Then there is the seller who photoshops all their vegetable seed listings and gives the varieties their own made-up names, calling them rare when in fact they are not so rare at all.

There has to be some way of cracking down on these seller but I can't think of it. Sigh.


  1. Dear Rowan, I didn't know broad beans were cultivated in Australia too! They're typical of South Italy.

    1. Yes, they are cultivated in home gardens for eating and broad acre for stock feed.