These cold-hardy, large, late spring broad beans have thick pods that can be enjoyed roasted whole like edamame when young and tender, or you can remove pods and outer skins for a super tender fresh green bean.
Flavor profile: Fava beans have a sweet and rich, fresh bean flavor similar to fresh soy beans/ edamame. Fava greens are also incredibly thick and rich like spinach with a fava bean flavor.
Uses: The greens, young pods, fresh beans, and dry beans of the fava plant are all edible and absolutely delicious. Although the beans can be eaten in any growth phase, the deepest and most delicate flavor comes from removing the beans from the pods and the outer skins, often made into a fava bean puree. The greens can be enjoyed raw, but the pods and beans should be cooked.
Pairs with: Fava beans are a savory protein that goes with just about anything. Garlic, olive oil, lemon, rice, pasta, salads, toast, soup, etc.
Storage: Fava beans have a pretty long shelf life and will last in a bag in your fridge for a couple weeks or more, although they’ll be best when eaten fresh.
Other names: Habas, broad beans, horse beans
Nutrients: Fava beans are incredibly nutrient-dense, just 1 cup of cooked fava beans has 13 grams of protein and are packed with vitamins and minerals, folate and manganese in particular.
History: Fava beans are some of the oldest cultivated crops in the world, some archeological evidence dating them back to 10,000 BCE. Broad beans in general are very hardy plants, and fava beans in particular are very nutrient dense good growers.
Why it's a great crop: Fava beans can be direct-seeded in the fall as a cover crop and grow steadily through the winter emerging strong come springtime. In addition to being highly protein rich for us, favas are nitrogen-fixers who enrich the soil. There’s just about six weeks of fresh fava beans in the Pacific Northwest, but they have so many other uses. It’s incredible that you can harvest fava greens out of a cover crop patch, fresh beans from a cultivated patch, and if the pods get too tough toward the end of the season you can finish maturing them and save them for dried beans. Multi-purpose crops like that are a farmer’s best friend!