Friday, December 16, 2016

Broad or Windsor Beans

In 1863 Isabella Mary Beeton published "The Book of Household Management." And in her vegetable section of the recipes, I stumbled across a bean I'd never heard of, the Broad or Windsor Bean. So naturally I had to research what this bean was. Today it is more commonly called the Fava Bean. Victory Seeds has a simple overview of the history of the Fava Beans.

In Ms. Beeton's book her recipe is:

1092. Ingredients.—To each 1/2 gallon of water, allow 1 heaped tablespoonful of salt; beans.
Mode.—This is a favourite vegetable with many persons, but to be nice, should be young and freshly gathered. After shelling the beans, put them into boiling water, salted in the above proportion, and let them boil rapidly until tender. Drain them well in a colander; dish, nnd serve with them separately a tureen of parsley and butter. Boiled bacon should always accompany this vegetable, but the beans should be cooked separately. It is usually served with the beans laid round, and the parsley and butter in a tureen. Beans also make an excellent garnish to a ham, and when used for this purpose, if very old, should have their skins removed. 
Time.—Very young beans, 15 minutes; when of a moderate size, 20 to 25 minutes, or longer.
Average cost, unshelled, 6d. per peck.
Sufficient.—Allow one peck for 6 or 7 persons.
Seasonable in July and August.
Nutritive Properties of the Bean.—The produce of beans in meal is, like that of peas, more in proportion to the grain than in any of the cereal grasses. A bushel of beans is supposed to yield fourteen pounds more of flour than a bushel of oats; and a bushel of peas eighteen pounds more, or, according to some, twenty pounds. A thousand parts of bean flour were found by Sir H. Davy to yield 570 parts of nutritive matter, of which 420 were mucilage or starch, 103 gluten, and 41 extract, or matter rendered insoluble during the process.

In "The Art of Preserving all kinds of animal and vegetable substances for Several Years" by M. Appert ©1811

Windsor Beans. - (Petiles Jives de marais.)
Neither the feverole (the small dried bean) nor the julienne, which re~ sembles it, are fit to be preserved. I make use of the genuine Windsor, or broad bean, which is of the thickness and breadth of the thumb, when ripe. I gather it very small, about the size of the the end of the little finger, in order to preserve it with its skin. As the skin becomes brown when in contact with the air, I take the precaution of putting the beans in bottles as soon as shelled. When the bottles are full, the beans having been shaken down gently on the stool, and in that way the vacancies in the bottle having been filled up ; I add to each bottle a little bunch of savory ; I cork them quickly in order to give them one hour's boiling in the water-bath. When this vegetable has been quickly gathered, prepared and preserved, it has a white, greenish colour: on the contrary, when the operation has been tardy, it becomes brown and hard.

Peeled Windsor Beans.
(Feves de marais devotees.)
In order to preserve Windsor beans Stripped of their skins, I gather them larger, about half an inch long at the utmost. I take off the skin, bottle them with a small bunch of savory, &c. and I put them in the waterbath, which is made to boil an hour and half.

In the American Gardener's Calendar; adapted to the climates and season of the by Bernard M'Mahon © 1806 you'll find this:

Planting the large Windsor Beans, and other varieties of the same species.
As early in this month as possible, plant a full crop of Windsor beans, and also of any of the other varieties which you esteem ; the Mazagan and Lisbon are the earliest, the white-blossom bean is very delicious, and boils much greener than any other kind ; but the green Genoa, bears the heat of our climates better than either of the others, and therefore is the most suitable for late crops. The long-podded bean is very good, and bears well; but the Windsor, Sandwich, Toker, and broad Spanish kinds, on account of their great size and sweetness, are more esteemed for blanching than any other. The dwarf-cluster bean is a great bearer, never grows above a foot or fourteen inches high, and may be planted in rows either in beds or borders, the rows to be about two feet asunder ; and as this kind branches out considerably from the root, the beans must be planted in single rows, and six inches distant from one another.
I have again to remark, that it is from the early planted of those kinds, that much produce may be expected ; for when overtaken by the summer heat, whilst in blossom, these drop off prematurery; consequently, the crops are poor and scanty.
Continue planting these kinds once every ten days, till the end of this month or beginning of next; and as the early crops advance, draw some earth up to their stems, as directed for peas.
When beans are desired at as early a period as possible, you may force some of the early Mazagan kind, in any of your forcing departments, observing, when the plants are in full blossom, to nip off their tops, which will cause their fruit to set and ripen sooner, than if left to take their natural course.

Or you may, about the beginning of the month, plant a quantity of them close together in a hot-bed, to be defended with a frame and glasses, or with mats, &c. and when thus forwarded for two or three weeks, plant them into the open ground; observing to give them plenty of air whilst in the hot-bed, and when they have one or two inches growth therein, to plant them into some warm border, in rows two feet and a half, or a yard asunder.
For further particulars, and the method of planting all the kinds, see February, page 127.

Which means the Windsor Bean was a part of the American diet for most of the 19th century. It even continued into the 20th til present day. Below is an excerpt from  The Report of Agricultural Experiment Station of the University of California ©1898 I found mention of the Windsor beans.
Mrs. Wenonah Stevens Abbott, Oak, Shasta County— Windsor Beans nearly all germinated. Heavy rains during blooming period probably lessened the amount of bearing, but those which we tried proved very good.

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