Two significant “first of the year”s

First strawberry of the season today, and how the taste takes me back to last summer’s strawberry glut when there were almost too many to pick at my allotment, and I had to ask friends to come and please take them away.

Not only the first strawberry today, but the first broad beans of the season too. I’m a great fan of broad beans, and the younger and fresher the are, the less cooking they need, and the tastier they are. I usually just fry them in olive oil until they have split and are browning slightly – this only takes three or four minutes – then add a little lemon juice and a dash of tamari (or a pinch of salt). A great summer delicacy which I look forward to for months.

Today’s beans are from Acquadulce broad been seeds, planted direct in direct in the ground in November, and they are ready earlier than usual this year due to the mild winter.   Later sowings of broad beans always suffer from blackfly, but these plants are beautifully aphid-free.  I know that my next batch of plants will get covered in blackfly by the time their beans are ready though… it’s just part of life.

A lot of people don’t like broad beans… I really can’t understand that – I love them.  Maybe they’ve never eaten young fresh broad beans: most of the ones in the shops are far too big and far too old, and are only tasty if you slip the skin off every bean after cooking (not as difficult as it sounds).

This reminds me of a law of gardening which I invented.  The most important stage of growing food is the cooking and eating.  If you don’t do that, all the other stages (sowing, transplanting, weeding, harvesting) were just a waste of time!  It’s as well to remember this, and if you only have limited time, do the harvesting that needs doing, and ignore the weeding.

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