During springtime, until the appearance of green beans, broad beans is a preferred and sought after vegetable, bring variety to people's food. Growing it in vegetable gardens is also good because of the strong nitrogen-fixing capability of the bacteria that develop along its root system. This symbiosis makes it a perfect predecessor for other vegetable crops that are grown after it.
Broad beans are an annual plant from the Fabaceae family, with a well-developed root system, where numerous tubers with nitrogen-fixing bacteria can be observed. The stalk is straight, ribbed, quadrilateral, having no trichomes. The flowers are arranged 4 - 6 in the base of the complex leaves. Two of the petals, the so-called wings, have a characteristic black spot.
The flowers of broad beans are visited by many bees. The fruits are beans, that have a grey-green color when young and a delicate consistency, and turn a black color once ripe.
Broad beans are one of the oldest vegetable crops with a wide area of distribution - from the Himalayas to the Iberian Peninsula. Its native land is recognized as central Asia - Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and west Tian Shan. The Mediterranean is considered a secondary place of origin.
Some broad bean varieties reach heights of up to 3.5 ft (1 m) with large flowers, 4 - 5 per shoot. The beans form mainly in the lower part of the stem. They are large, light green and delicate while young and when botanically ripe are dark brown, with a parchment-like layer. The seeds are large with a dark chocolate color.
In traditional folk medicine, concoctions made from the seeds of broad beans are used as a soothing and anti-inflammatory remedy for gastroenteritis. Infusions made from its flowers are used in cosmetics. Consumption of broad beans improves the peristalsis of the intestines during constipation and assists in lowering cholesterol.
Of course, you can always make something tasty and healthy using broad beans.
Broad bean soup
Preparation: Before you begin making the dish, smear the broad beans very thoroughly with salt, wash and blanch. In the butter, place the finely chopped onions, garlic and blanched broad beans. Add the flour and pour in 4 tablespoons of warm water. Boil on moderate heat. Finally, thicken the well-boiled soup and season with parsley and dill.