When in bloom, the sweet-scented flowers of the broad bean plant call to honeybees – the vital pollinators responsible for one in three mouthfuls of food. Broad beans also function as a cover crop, grown between harvests to protect the land. Cover crops help supress weeds, enrich the soil and control pests. These hardy and adaptable plants can grow in most soils and climates. The beautiful green beans have a sweet, grassy taste and buttery texture. They are protected by a pod that can be eaten raw when the plant is young.
As the plant ages, the pod hardens and is not commonly consumed due to its texture and bitter flavour. They make a nice protein and fibre-packed addition to risottos, soups and stews. They are also great as a side dish seasoned with rosemary, thyme and pepper.