Produce of the Month Guide: Fava Beans
Produce of the Month Guide: Fava Beans is an informative guide for fava beans and includes a round of 21 delicious fava bean recipes!
I keep telling myself that I’m ready for summer, but the truth is that I’m no where near ready to say good-bye to spring produce. For me, spring is all about creating dishes with an explosion of various shades of green vegetables.
It truly makes me happy. 💚
I have many favorites including asparagus, peas (sugar, snow and snap), leeks, lettuces of every kind, and of course fava beans.
Before I went to cooking school years ago I’d never tried fava beans. I’d seen them in the stores and at farmer’s markets, but I truly had no idea how to prep them or what to do with them.
That all changed when I tried fava beans in cooking school and I haven’t looked back. They’re a staple in my spring garden and almost all of my salads, risottos, pasta dishes and even dip when they’re in season. 🙂
Produce of the Month Guide: Fava Beans
What are fava beans?
Fava beans, also known as broad beans, are a species of flowering plant in the pea and bean family. The pods are very large with anywhere from 3-8 beans per pod.
Fava beans were widely cultivated in ancient civilizations and were a major food in the Mediterranean, especially for the Greeks and Romans.
The plants are very hardy and grow well even in harsh climates. The plants are often used as a cover crop to prevent erosion because they fix nitrogen in the soil. This makes them a great addition to your garden!
Fava beans are tender and delicate, much like peas, making them perfect for salads, spreads, pastas and so much more!
Growing Fava Beans
I’ve grown fava beans in my garden for the past 3 years and they’re extremely easy to grow. I plant the seeds in late September or October and harvest the beans from as early as March to mid-summer.
The seeds should be planted in full sun and in nutrient rich soil. I plant my seeds in the ground with a bit of plant food or garden mix about 1-2″ deep and about 6 inches apart. Cover the seeds completely and water thoroughly,
Fava bean plants grow from 2-5 feet tall, and need a trellis or some type of support. I have a fence that runs behind the plants, which I use to tie the plants up as they grow or clip them using garden clips. The plants may also be grown in raised beds, just make sure there is a trellis to provide support.
I water the plants about every other day for 10 minutes per day on a drip system. All in all, they’re very low maintenance plants!
Fava Beans should be harvested when the pods are about 6-8 inches long or about 1″ wide.
Nutrition Benefits of Fava Beans
Fava beans are nutrient dense powerhouses! They’re rich in vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, iron, potassium, copper, phosphorous and vitamin B1.
Not only do fava beans provide a lean source of protein, but they contain no saturated fat or cholesterol.
They’re also a great source of folate and dietary fiber.
Choosing, Storing and Prepping Fava Beans
When selecting fava beans, make sure the pods are heavy, bright green and free of bruising. The beans should be plump but not bulging.
The beans should be stored in the pod in a plastic bag in the crisper for 5-7 days. Once the beans are shelled, eat raw or cook within 3 days.
I’ve shelled and frozen my fava beans uncooked with the protective skin still intact for months and they’re still amazing! They’re not as bright green as they are when they’re fresh, but they’re just as delicious.
I’ve also cooked them and removed them from the protective skin and frozen them as well. Just thaw and add to your dishes!
Prepping fava beans is a labor of love as they’re a bit time consuming. Refer to my How To Cook Fava Beans, which I posted a few years back. It also includes a handy video to make prepping and cooking fava beans even easier.
21 fava bean recipes for you to enjoy this spring and summer!
Fava Bean Dip Pinwheels by Healthy Nibbles and Bits
Ricotta Gnocchi with Peas, Broad Beans and Mint by Italy On My Mind
Fava Bean Puree with Lemon and Garlic by Gather and Dine
Fava Bean, Mint and Ricotta Crostini by Scrummy Lane
Vegan Ravioli with Broad Beans by Lazy Cat Kitchen
Chorizo Carbonara by Hello My Dumpling
Golden Beet and Fava Bean Salad by From The Land We Live On
Fava Beans with Prosciutto and Cream by Coley Cooks
Cacio de Pepe with Fava Beans by Feasting At Home
Breakfast Toast with Fava Bean Spread and Crispy Capicola by Cooking and Beer
Pasta with Fava Beans, Fennel and Onions by Spinach Tiger
Fresh Fava Bean Parmesan Salad by Just A Little Bit Of Bacon
Marinated Fava Beans by Feasting At Home