Spotlight On. . . Fava Beans!

Last night, I made one of my usual curry-ations– a stew of veggies, assorted spices, and beans.  Usually, I add lentils, kidney beans, or chickpeas, but this time, I busted out my one can of fava beans, which I’ve been hoarding for quite a while now!

The purpose of this post today is not to highlight my curry-ation, though it was quite divine.  Rather,  I thought it would be fun to feature the fava bean itself, also known as the broad bean.

History alert:  the fava bean is one of the most ancient plants in cultivation, and quite hardy and easy to grow, which is why it is such a staple of Mediterranean cooking.

So I don’t need to explain that a fava bean is a legume; however, it is important to note that in their original form, favas are contained within a long green pod, almost like peas!

(Source)

From what my sources spill, favas are sort of a hassle to eat if purchased raw.  One must shuck them and remove the string, and then par-boil them to remove the waxy coating surrounding the bean (source).  Therefore, canned favas are often preferred to their fresh counterparts, merely for convenience’s sake!

The nutrition of favas is kind of off the charts:  once cup has 13 grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber, and they are also loaded with folate (44 percent of the daily value!), copper, manganese, and phosphorus as well.  Fava beans also contain a significant amount of iron, which is why they’re often referred to as “the meat of the poor” (source).

Favas have a nutty taste and firm texture that can stand up to any amount of heat without really getting mushy (at least the canned ones can!).  I love how chewy they are, and I appreciate the fact they don’t melt in your mouth like some beans often do when cooked.  Here’s how they held up in my curry-ation:

Pretty good, right?

 I do have one suspicion though about the canned favas I purchase from Westbrae Naturals– the favas are brown, which makes me think they are dried first, then canned and rehydrated through the canning process.  I can’t confirm this, nor do I have an issue with this concept, but I am curious about if favas are available canned in their young and green form. 

Regardless of this fava controversy, I love them just the same.  So the next time you want to mix up your choice of beans, grab a can of favas– they are delish and extremely good for you!

Does anyone have any idea about the brown versus green fava beans?  Have you ever had favas, and if so, how do you eat them?

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