Whole dried black badgers and pigeons

Beans means Hodmedods

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Black badger peas, also known as carlin peas, maple peas or pigeon peas, are an old English pulse that date back to the Middle Ages and were traditionally eaten in the north of England in spring time.  They are normally quite hard to come by and don’t often make appearances in Supermarkets. Curiously they are quite commonly found for sale in pet shops, as they are also used for feeding pigeons, as their (alternative) name suggests.

And now you can also get them at Cornercopia! Hodmedods  have just started supplying us with British grown beans (whole dried black badgers,  fava, split fava and kabuki) they come in beautifully designed 500g packs which include a recipe book and are £1.95-£2.45 a pack.

Hodmedods are a  small start-up based in founded by Nick Saltmarsh, Josiah Meldrum and William Hudson  and based on the Norfolk-Suffolk border. With an interest in sustainable and local food they ran a  trial project  called the ‘Great British Beans’ to stimulate and assess demand for indigenous pulses. This project was developed with developed with Transition Norwhich.

They are keen to search out and promote less well-known foods, like the fava bean, which we still grow and export but haven’t eaten in Britain for centuries. Fava beans are delicious, nutritious and good for the soil. Long before fresh broad beans were eaten, the beans were left to ripen and dry on the plant before harvest. These beans were an important part of the British diet as a source of protein until we started eating more meat and dairy products a few hundred years ago. They’re still a major farm crop in Britain (normally for export) and widely eaten in traditional dishes in the Mediterranean, Africa and Asia. Whole fava beans are the main ingredient in the traditional Egyptian dish of ful medames and make jolly good and hearty baked beans.

So lets all eat more local beans!  Get your black badgers from Cornercopia for £1.95, but please don’t feed them to the market pigeons, instead try Mark Hix’s  suggestion of black badgers simmered in chicken stock and served with a knob of butter, a bunch of wild garlic (you can currently get this at the farmers market on Sunday) and spring onions. Yum!

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About anne fairbrother

Anne set up and runs Brixton Cornercopia with chef Ian Riley
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