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Fava Beans

When In Season:

    California (Northern): April (early) - July (late)

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Fava Beans on Wikipedia:

This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (December 2008) Vicia faba Vicia faba plants in flower Scientific classification Kingdom: Plantae Division: Magnoliophyta Class: Magnoliopsida Order: Fabales Family: Fabaceae Subfamily: Faboideae Tribe: Vicieae Genus: Vicia Species: V. faba Binomial name Vicia faba L. Synonyms

Faba sativa Moench.

Vicia faba, the Broad Bean, Fava Bean, Faba Bean, Field Bean, Bell Bean or Tic Bean is a species of bean (Fabaceae) native to north Africa and southwest Asia, and extensively cultivated elsewhere. A variety is provisionally recognized:

Vicia faba var. equina Pers. – Horse Bean

Although usually classified in the same genus Vicia as the vetches, some botanists treat it in a separate monotypic genus Faba.



Broad beans in the pod

It is a rigid, erect plant 0.5-1.7 m tall, with stout stems with a square cross-section. The leaves are 10-25 cm long, pinnate with 2-7 leaflets, and of a distinct glaucous grey-green color; unlike most other vetches, the leaves do not have tendrils for climbing over other vegetation. The flowers are 1-2.5 cm long, with five petals, the standard petal white, the wing petals white with a black spot (true black, not deep purple or blue as is the case in many ``black`` colorings [1]), and the keel petals white. Crimson flowered broad beans also exist which were recently saved from extinction[2]. The fruit is a broad leathery pod, green maturing blackish-brown, with a densely downy surface; in the wild species, the pods are 5-10 cm long and 1 cm diameter, but many modern cultivars developed for food use have pods 15-25 cm long and 2-3 cm thick. Each pod contains 3-8 seeds; round to oval and 5-10 mm diameter in the wild plant, usually flattened and up to 20-25 mm long, 15 mm broad and 5-10 mm thick in food cultivars. Vicia faba has a diploid (2n) chromosome number of 12, meaning that each cell in the plant has 12 chromosomes (6 homologous pairs). Five pairs are acrocentric chromosomes and 1 pair is metacentric. Arabic فول


Broad beans have a long tradition of cultivation in Old World agriculture, being among the most ancient plants in cultivation and also among the easiest to grow. It is believed that along with lentils, peas, and chickpeas, they became part of the eastern Mediterranean diet in around 6000 BC or earlier. They are still often grown as a cover crop to prevent erosion because they can over-winter and because as a legume, they fix nitrogen in the soil. These commonly cultivated plants can be attacked by fungal diseases, such as Rust (Uromyces viciae-fabae) and Chocolate Spot (Botrytis fabae).

Mature field bean pods

In much of the Anglophone world, the name broad bean is used for the large-seeded cultivars grown for human food, while horse bean and field bean refer to cultivars with smaller, harder seeds (more like the wild species) used for animal feed, though their stronger flavour is preferred in some human food recipes, such as falafel. The term fava bean (from the Italian fava, meaning ``broad bean``) is sometimes used in English speaking countries, however the term broad bean is the most common name in the UK.

Culinary uses

Broad beans, shelled and lightly steamed for 3 minutes Fried broad beans as a snack

Broad beans are eaten while still young and tender, enabling harvesting to begin as early as the middle of spring for plants started under glass or over-wintered in a protected location, but even the maincrop sown in early spring will be ready from mid to late summer. Horse beans, left to mature fully, are usually harvested in the late autumn.

The young leaves of the plant can also be eaten either raw or cooked like spinach.

The beans can be fried, causing the skin to split open, and then salted and/or spiced to produce a savory crunchy snack. These are popular in China, Colombia, Peru (habas saladas), Mexico (habas con chile) and in Thailand (where their name means ``open-mouth nut``).

Broad bean purée with wild chicory is a typical Puglian dish.

In the Sichuan cuisine of China, broad beans are combined with soybeans and chili peppers to produce a spicy fermented bean paste called doubanjiang.

In most Arab countries the fava bean is used for a breakfast dish called ful medames. Ful medames is usually crushed fava beans in a sauce although the Fava beans do not have to be crushed.

Fava beans are common in Latin American cuisines as well. In central Mexico, mashed fava beans are a common filling for many corn flour-based [antojito]] snacks such as tlacoyos. In Colombia they are most often used whole in vegetable soups. Dried and salted fava beans are a popular snack in many Latin countries.

In Iran

Broad beans is cultivated mostly in the center of Iran. The city of Kashan has the best production of broad beans with the high quality in terms of the taste, cooking periods and color. However the season of broad bean is very short (roughly for two weeks). The season is usually in the middle of Spring. When the people have access to the fresh beans (in season) they cook it in the brine and then add-in vinegar and Heracleum persicum depending on their tastes. They also make the extra amount dried to be used all the year. The dried one can be cooked with the rice which forms one of the most famous dishes in Iran so called ``Baghalee Polo (Persian : باقالی پلو)`` which means rice with broad bean. In Iran broad bean is cooked, served with pepper and salt and sold on streets in the winter. This food is also available in conserved format in metal cans.

In Egypt

Fava beans are a common staple food in the Egyptian diet, eaten by rich and poor alike. Egyptians eat fava beans in various ways: they may be shelled and then dried, bought dried and then cooked by adding water in very low heat for several hours, etc. They are the primary ingredient in Ta`meyyah (Egyptian Arabic for falafel), and Egyptians have made deriding Levantine felafel (made from chickpeas) as inferior something of a national sport. However, the most popular way of preparing fava beans in Egypt is by taking the mashed, cooked beans and adding oil, garlic, lemon, salt and cumin to it. It is then eaten with bread. The dish, known as ful medames, is traditionally eaten with onions (generally at breakfast) and is considered the Egyptian national dish.

In Greece

Broad beans (Greek: κουκιά, koukiá) are eaten in a stew combined with artichokes, while they are still fresh in their pod. Dried broad beans are eaten boiled, sometimes combined with garlic sauce (skordalia). In Crete fresh broad beans are shelled and eaten as companion to tsikoudia, the local alcoholic drink. Favism is quite common in Greece because of malaria endemicity in previous centuries, and people afflicted by it do not eat broadbeans.

Note: The Greek word fáva (φάβα) does not refer to broadbeans, but to the yellow split pea and also to the legume Lathyrus sativus, either of which are boiled with salt to the local variety of pease pudding, also called fáva. This creamy fáva is then served hot or cold, sprinkled with olive oil and garnished with a variety of condiments and seasonings such as diced onion, capers, parsley, pepper, lemon juice, etc.

In Ethiopia

Broad beans( Amharic: 'baqueella') are one of the most popular legumes in Ethiopia. Broad beans are tightly coupled with every Ethiopian life. They are mainly used as an alternative with peas to prepare a flour called 'shiro' which is used to make 'shiro wot' (a stew almost ubiquitous in Ethiopian dishes). During a fasting period in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church tradition called 'filliseta' (which is in August), two veggie uncooked spicy dishes are made using broad beans. The first one is 'Elibet' which is a thin white paste of broad beans flour mixed with pieces of onion, green paper, garlic, and other spices based on personal choice. And, the other one is 'silijou' which is a fermented sour spicy thin yellow paste of broad beans flour. Both are served with other stews and 'injera'( a pancake like bread)- during lunch and dinner. Also, 'baqueella nifro' (boiled broad beans) are eaten like a snack during some holidays and during a time of mourning (i.e. when some one dies). Interestingly, this tradition goes well in to religious holidays too. On the Thursday before Good Friday-in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church tradition 'tselote hamus'(The Prayer of Thursday): people eat a different kind of 'nifro' called 'Gulban'. 'Gulban' is made of peeled, half beans collected and well cooked with other grains like wheat, peas and chick peas. As usual, this is done to mourn the crucification of Jesus Christ. 'boq'ullit' (boiled salted broad beans embryo) is one of the most favorite snacks in the evening ( the common story telling time in the north and central Ethiopia). It is particularly a favorite for the story teller (usually a society elder) as it is delicious, and easy to chew and swallow. Last but not least, ripe broad beans from a broad beans crop are eaten by passersbys. Besides that, they are one of the gift items from a countryside relative in a period close to the Ethiopian Epiphany.

Health issues

Broad beans are rich in tyramine, and thus should be avoided by those taking monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors.

Raw broad beans contain vicine, isouramil and convicine, which can induce hemolytic anemia in patients with the hereditary condition glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (G6PD). This potentially fatal condition is called ``favism`` after the fava bean.[1][2]

Broad beans are rich in L-dopa, a substance used medically in the treatment of