"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Leave it to Mother Nature

Last Friday, we decided, on the spur of the moment, to nip up to the farm for the weekend.

When we went to the farm in the middle of May, I had shoved four broad bean (fava bean) seeds into the ground next to each of the three trees which we had just transplanted out of pots, and which hadn't been doing well at all. These trees are now on the irrigation system, so planting the beans beneath them, meant that the beans would get water also :)
I wondered if they would produce, without my tender loving care / staking against the wind / pest control, etc. :)
So, arriving at the farm on Friday, I got the surprise of my life.  I had a broad bean harvest that completely blew me away!  The plants, heavy with pods, and not having been staked, were sprawling all over the ground - with beans even hiding under the fallen plants.  Not one of the bean pods, either on the plants, nor lying on the ground, was damaged / eaten by insects - be they slugs / locusts or giant grasshoppers.
In fact, I harvested approximately 12 kgs (26lbs) of broad beans...
... which translated into just over 3kgs (6 1/2 lbs) of beans out of their pods.
Glorious, luscious, plump morsels of...
...heaven in each mouthful :)

I now have a supply of food which is very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, whilst being high in dietary fiber, protein, phosphorus, copper, manganese and an excellent source of folate.

We ate a portion last night - simply boiled until the outer sheath split and then slathered in butter.  Delicious :)

I have placed the rest of the beans in the freezer, but, would like advice on how else to preserve the beans?  And what is your favourite broad bean recipe?

It just goes to show you, Mother Nature, when left to her own devices, is perhaps the best gardener of us all :)


  1. Happy Bean-Surprise! :) I'm new to them this year but I only grew a couple of plants so no preserving experience yet. I did use them several times in stir fries though and could recommend it.

  2. Tanya - It's my first year of growing broad beans - my town garden harvest was pathetic, but the farm - FABULOUS :)

  3. Pretty impressive harvest, Dani. I love it when you can just forget about it and have that "TaDa" moment.

  4. bravo, bravo

    best bean recipe evah!! can be found at this link:


  5. That's amazing! Congrats on the welcome surprise. I don't suppose you've ever heard of long beans have you? My neighbor lady back in Plano used to plant them along out fence on their side and they were climbers. The fence would be covered with the vines every year and I took the ones that were on our side. Never did cook them as they were great in salads or just to munch on raw. I think they may have been Chinese Long Beans? The bean pods were something like a foot long.

  6. Tami - Thanks :) But I couldn't have done it with Mother LOL

    Wickets - Thanks. And the recipe is a definite winner - brilliant thanks, am going to enjoy cooking them on our next braai :)

    David - Thanks :) Nope, never heard of long beans. I would say that 70% of the beans I harvested were 30cms (a foot) long

    Pity you don't have a neighbour where you are - or should I say, a neighbour that's near enough so that you can harvest from her crop... LOLOLOL

  7. Beautiful beans...If I could only grow one bean it would be this variety. My wife and I dry most of our fava beans and then use them for soups or refried beans...they will keep for many years this way. Enjoy those beans.

  8. I'm surprised you haven't heard of them Dani. This article says they are A traditional food plant in Africa


  9. David - Perhaps there's a common name for them. I, personally, have never heard of yard long beans. But they are a very interesting bean, and I'm going to try and get some seeds - thanks very much :)

  10. Sweet garden surprise! Nature at its best .. left alone :)

  11. Exactly, Mrs Mac. Exactly LOL

  12. low in fat. slathered in butter. Giggles.


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