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Fava / Broad Bean – Worth all the Work

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Hidden inside those fat, long pods are handfuls of delicious beans, but they make you work for it. All good things in life require a little work, and work builds character, right? So think of these as a character building bean! I am not selling this very well, am I? But seriously, despite the seemingly never-ending shucking involved, fava beans have a buttery goodness that you don’t find in other beans, making the toilsome undertaking a true treasure hunt.


Fava beans are also known as broad beans, pigeon beans, horse beans, and Windsor beans. They are the heartiest of beans; they are sturdy, reliable, and versatile. They grow on annual bushes ranging in height from two to seven feet tall. The sprawling plants produce gray-green, pointed leaves and sweetly fragrant, creamy flowers with a purplish blotch, followed by large, green pods in early to mid-summer.


Due to the weight of the bean pod, as it grows, farmers will often support the bush with a wire grid or pole to keep them more erect. Fava beans enjoy the sun and warmth of temperatures that range from 70-80 degrees (F), so once the last frost has past and things start to warm up… it’s time to start planting. They do well in moderately heavy soil that is high in organic matter. They shouldn’t need fertilizing; in fact, too much nitrogen will produce leggy plants with fewer pods. Once planted, the germination takes six to fourteen days at 60 degrees (F). Interested in this process? Click (here) and watch the process in a 45-second video.


The Fava Flower

The Mighty Fava Bean Pod

Harvesting / Shucking



Eating them Raw and Cooked – it’s all about timing

How the Fava Bean is Used

Do you have Favism?

Favism is an inherited disorder of certain individuals, particularly of southern European origin. These people have an enzyme deficiency expressed when fava beans are eaten, especially raw or partially cooked. Symptoms commonly include acute toxic hepatitis and those similar to influenza. Males are more commonly affected than females; mortality is almost entirely confined to children. Fava plant pollen in the respiratory tract also affects these people. (1)

2 thoughts on “Fava / Broad Bean – Worth all the Work

  1. Laura Orbe says:

    I love Fava Beans❤️ They remind me of my Nona, she would get them every spring and we would sit in the yard doing the ritual you described above. Whenever I find them at my farmers market I buy them and continue to do the same in my yard. It brings me back to my childhood and I love the entire process….just to slow down and sit getting lost in beautiful memories.

    • amie-sue says:

      I so loved reading that Laura. It just warms my heart when things can bring back such warm and loving memories. I am happy to hear that you continue the little tradition. Thanks so much for sharing! blessings, amie sue

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