Preserving food at home – broad beans and spring onions

At this time of the year, broad beans are plentiful in our back yard. If you have never grown these at home, I really encourage you to give them a go. They are not readily available to purchase fresh and, if you do come across them while shopping,  the price can be a deterrent.  Yet broad beans are nutritious and versatile. They are very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, a good source of dietary fibre, protein, phosphorus, copper and manganese, and a very good source of folate. For more information see Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Broad beans.

Broad beans are also very easy to grow. Although this year’s crop was not as abundant as previous years – I suspect due to the lower winter rainfall in our region – there is still enough to preserve. Here is a very easy preserving method.

Pick medium to large size bean pods in the early morning and shell.

Place the beans in a glass jar and only fill up to two thirds of the jar. I have written about storing food in glass jars in Preserving the harvestspinach « Sustainable Communities SA. Store jars upright in your freezer and remove to defrost at least 12 hours before using. Once defrosted, remove the tough outer skin. The raw beans can be added to a variety of salads. Alternatively, they can be cooked  in a garlic/ tomato sauce and served with couscous, rice, lentils or on toast.

Do you ever bring home a bunch of spring onions, find you only use half, and throw the rest out a week later? There is an alternative! Simply wash, shake dry and chop up all the onions. Use what you need and freeze the remainder in a small to medium glass jar. There is no need to defrost before using these in the future. If you do not need the whole content of the jar,  just use a tea spoon to scoop out the amount you need.

Remember to label all your jars containing frozen produce and use within 12 months. If the content ever looks suspicious, it probably is…so just discard it in the compost bin.

Check out Veronique’s blog here!

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