If you are wondering how to shell broad beans  – the good news is it is very simple.  The bad news is that it’s time consuming and there really aren’t any fast track ways to speed this up. Double shelling broad beans means that they are first removed from the pod, and secondly they are removed from their bean skins.  I double-shell broad beans as I am not a fan of the seed skins, even on the smaller beans. I only started growing broad beans five or six years ago, and the first time I ate the beans I thought they were horrible – then my friend Helen explained the double shelling technique and I have done this ever since.

How to shell broad beans

Work with freshly picked beans, as they are easier to open and you will get the best flavour and colour.  See if you can get some helpers, little kids are ideally suited – if you can get them to FOCUS. Put on the radio or listen to a podcast as this will take some time.  Actually, the word podcast came from a developer at Apple who had childhood memories of shelling beans, and wanted to create something entertaining to help people during this tedious time.  OK – that’s not true, but I kinda wish it was.

Here are the main steps:

You can have a little break after you get to the first stage (broad beans shelled from their pods)  – and do the next bit when you are ready to use the beans. Double shelled broad beans are shiny, bright green and look amazing.  I don’t like to cook them any further at this stage, rather I use them in the following dishes:

  • add to a salad
  • dot them on top of a risotto
  • add to a pasta primavera, right at the end
  • mush with olive oil and salt for a bruschetta topping
  • smash them up with feta and mint for a dip
  • add to the last stage of a tofu and chilli stir-fry
  • stir through fried bacon pieces, mushroom and garlic for a side dish

    3 replies to "How to shell broad beans"

    • Cherise Haslam

      Thanks so much. I feel like an idiot not knowing how to do this! I have just grown some heritage red broad beans for the first time and now I know how to use them, much appreciation!

    • colin clarke

      I plant my broad beans in October and i have a magnificent harvest grown in a raised bed comprised of sandy soil and compost. Eat them all ,the nutritious values are just below the skin that some people find not to their pallet.,Cooked for a few minutes in boiling water drain ,chill, and saute in Garlic,mushrooms,bacon ,or butter ,salt and pepper, Start your day, from your wrinkly Retired Chef Colin. Bon appetite.

    • Whole Food Republic

      […] salad or bring in some tropical flavors with chopped mango. Fresh blanched or frozen fava beans, double-shelled (also called broad beans) are also a great alternative to edamame. This is a good choice if you […]

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