Fava Beans Plant Spotlight: Tips and Tricks to Grow, Cook, and Eat Garden Fresh Fava Beans

Your garden and kitchen guide to fava beans

Introductory Facts and Trivia

This widely used crop comes from an unknown origin. It is very visually similar to the lima bean because of the size and color that they both have. One of the first places that fava beans appeared in is the Mediterranean regions of Italy and Iran. It is one of the oldest cultivated plants known, with its culture extending back to prehistoric times. It is from the pea or bean family, scientifically called Fabaceae. The flowers on this crop have a sweet scent that attracts pollinators such as bees. The fava bean is a cool-season crop and is usually planted during February and March in California for vegetable use and during September to November to serve as cover crops.

Grow Your Own

Fava beans can be planted to improve soil. But the really fun use is when it can be used for food. You can use a portion of your crop for culinary purposes and the other portion of it for compost biomass that will help the soil in your garden.

To grow them, start sowing them in September or in November for either a late fall harvest or an early spring picking, respectively. Because of pests, it is not recommended that you start planting in January, as the plants would be ready by summer time, which is when pests are the most prevalent. Seasonal climate changes are important to the development of the crop.

Sow about one to two inches deep and space six to eight inches apart in regular garden soil. If you plant during fall, you dont need to worry too much about watering the plants, especially around northern California, because of the rainfall. Developing plants will protect the soil from heavy rains, and pollinators will also come in for the blossoms. Once the process is done, the beans should be ready for use to start cooking.

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Cooking Tips

Fava bean can be cooked in many ways. They can be baked, boiled, braised, fried, mashed, pureed, sautéed, or stewed. Adding butter, spices and seasoning would itself be a great meal.  But fava beans can be used in more complex dishes as well, and the Kitchn demonstrates 5 Fantastic Ways to Cook Fava Beans. They can be grilled or roasted and then added to meals like chicken, pasta, and the likes.

Nutrition and Health Benefits

Like others in the bean family, fava beans have multiple health benefits. To start, it gives a good supply of dietary fiber. They are also very high in protein, and can provide your diet with a great source of protein. Fava beans are an excellent source of minerals like iron, copper, manganese, calcium, magnesium.

Learn more about plants and what to grow in your area with the Giving Garden app. Giving Garden helps you grow, share and eat food locally. Available on iOS, Android and the web.  Find your local farmers market, grow your own food and share food to strengthen your local food system. If you have extra produce, we encourage you to post it on our mobile apps and let your friends and neighbors know. Let’s combat food waste together! Have suggestions on features or need assistance, email support@givinggarden.io 

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This blog post was written by Sanjay Reddy, a Biological Science and Professional Writing intern at Giving Garden. Sanjay is very passionate about plant and environmental science and is experienced in scientific research and writing for various fields. Connect with him on LinkedIn to see his current projects.

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