new videos
hot off the press!  
    more about rocket
mass heaters here.

more videos from
the PDC here.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Fava Beans - more than just beans  RSS feed

 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 6016
Location: Left Coast Canada
749
books chicken tiny house
  • Likes 10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Fava beans were a popular crop in Medieval Europe. Used as fresh shelling beans, dry beans, and as a source of fresh greens. The favas of the past, had only two small beans per pod, each bean being about the size of a thumbnail. Nowadays favas come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, some with huge pods containing seven or eight massive flat beans, others with even tinier beans than our medieval ancestors knew.

These days, it seems like fava beans are more popular as a green manure cover crop than as a food sources. Grown until they flower, then tilled under, these beans add nitrogen to the soil as well as improving the overall organic matter. These are usually tiny beans, about the same size as a pea. I have often wondered if they are breed to be that size so that they fit in the seed drills and make for easier mechanical sewing? Or maybe it's just a coincidence.


Growing Favas:

Depending on where you live, fava beans can be grown over winter, or planted in the early spring, or both.

Most years, Fava Beans grow very well here. I plant them anytime between Oct 1st and March 1st, depending on the weather and my mood. The early plantings are ready to harvest as fresh shelling beans usually by may. Some of the later plantings are ready as shellies into August.

For dry beans, the pods are left to dry on the plant and the gardener/farmer stops watering them (or hopes for no rain) once the beans have filled out. If the weather is uncooperative, the beans can be finished drying inside.

In my garden, favas like a moderately fertile soil. If the PH is too acidic they are more likely to get aphids and black flies in the warmer months. To reduce this, I dust them with woodash a few times during the winter (when my woodstove needs cleaning).

One way to prevent pests like aphids and black fly (who love fresh new growth) is to pick the top of the stems after the beans have set. These fresh leaves are also delicious to people (apparently - looking forward to trying them for the first time this year). The theory is that by removing the new growth, it not only prevents pests but allows the plants to focus their energy on been production.

Last year I tried mulching half my fava crop with some spent hay from the llama yard. It was a disaster. Sure, it kept the weeds down, but hardly any weeds grow over the winter anyway. In the mulched half, a couple of the beans looked stunted. Then half of them looked stunted... hmmm... so I dug around the roots and found these clusters of hundreds of little grubs - that were only around the stunted plants. There weren't any in the soil near the un-mulched beans. I hatched out some larvae and discovered these were March Fly thanks to the good people at bugguide. March fly is attracted to dead organic matter (like mulch) and manure when left on the surface of the soil.

My solution - stop mulching my fava beans. Also, I rouged the stunted beans, pulling them out before they could flower, and will keep the seeds from the plants that were unattractive to the bugs.

Most years I get my seeds from the grocery store. There are these very delicious HUGE fava beans from the middle east, and I buy a kilo of them for about $4. Whereas a seed pack of only a handful of beans costs about the same. The grocery store beans make the sweetest shelly bean of any kind I've tried, with no tough skin. Other varieties I've tried are Windsor (which has trouble over wintering here some years) and Martoc (a medieval variety that is looking very promising). Mother Earth News Has an interesting article about growing favas for food and some different varieties.


For seeding a large area, I will often use my two wheel mechanical seeding gadget thingy. However, the grocery store beans are at least 4 times too large for the largest seed plate, so I have a different technique. When seeding on freshly tilled soil, I use my footprints to plant the seeds. I drop one seed about where I naturally step, toe over some soil, then step on the seed, next one, where the left foot goes (as I start with my right), toe over soil, step as per normal. I do my best to space my footsteps as close to my normal walking pace as possible. This gives me a double row of plants, spaced alternately and can go quite quickly once I get into the rhythm of it.


DANGEROUS FAVA BEANS:
Some people are very sensitive to fava beans. This, again according to the literature, is a genetic trait often found in people of mediterranean decent. That's what the books all say, so it's good to be cautious. The illness is called Favism. Care should be taken when eating favas for the first few times.

People sensitive to legumes may also have a problem eating favas. This may be mitigated by different cooking methods and possibly by fermentation. There are so many different dietary issues out there, that it is really up to you to know your own dietary needs. Read, research, try small amounts before eating lots.

(edit to add) another potential problem with eating favas is that they are high in fibre. People with certain digestive issues, or on specific medications or diets, may have great difficulty digesting large quantities of these beans. According to five minutes with google, the fibre in fava beans is mostly soluble, which can be easier to digest than insoluble fibre.

Cooking Favas:
Using favas as a fresh shelling bean when picked after the pods have filled out, but before they start to dry down. Depending on the variety, the individual bean may have a tough outer skin. By shelling and then boiling makes a delicious treat needing little other than butter to bring out their charm. Or we can take the cooked beans and add them to casseroles and curries. Or use them any way we would fresh shelled beans or peas.

My favourite way to serve fresh fava beans, is not to shell them at all. I cook and serve them like edamame. I blanch them, in the pod, for three to ten minutes, depending on how old or big they are, drain the water, and sprinkle the still damp pods with a generous helping of sea salt. It's important to tell first time eaters that they need to shell the beans, as the pods are a terrible texture.

Fresh Fava Soup or Green Goop Soup looks delicious.

Dry favas keep for years, even decades when stored in dry, dark, cool locations. However, they are best when eaten in the first year or two of harvest.

You can boil favas from their dry state, however, soaking is recommended as it drastically reduces cooking time and makes the bean easier to digest. You can do a quick soak, which is to pour boiling water on the dry beans, let them sit an hour, then rinse and cook. This way is primarily to reduce cooking time, and the experts tend to agree it does very little to improve digestion. By washing the beans and soaking them for at least four hours, up to 48 hours (changing the water at least every 6 hours for long soaking), it is said this makes the beans much easier to digest.

It can take between 40 min to 4 hours to cook soaked dry favas, depending more on the age than the size. Between 1 hour and 8 for unsoaked. In a pressure cooker, it takes about 6 minutes on high (stovetop) for soaked favas, and between 12 and 14 min on high for unsoaked (also stovetop).

Making miso paste from fava beans is easy, soy free soy sauce and tamari almost as easy. This is excellent for people with soy allergies and sensitivities. Any miso recipe can be used, by replacing the soy beans with other dry legumes. Sandor Katz books Wild Fermentation and The Art of Fermentation both have excellent recipes for this. You can buy the koji rice online from GEM Cultures. The Book of Miso has everything you ever thought you needed to geek out about miso including tips on how to replace the soy with not-soy. And my favourite recipe for soy-free homemade miso paste, just replace the chickpeas with the same weight of fava beans. Questions about soy-free miso making or for a fava-miso-along, let me know.

Because of it's versatility and ability to grow in climes where soy does not thrive, I always imagined fava would make an excellent Transition crop. Miso and other fermentations are suppose to help improve digestibility and in some cases, make it possible for people to eat favas that would otherwise have trouble with them.

Apparently the young leaves and shoots can be eaten as well. They are supposedly eaten like spinach - but that is also what authors seem say about all sorts of greens they have never tried. I haven't tried this yet, but I'm looking forward to eating it like spinach.

An interesting analsis of the nutritional content of fava beans, based on one cup of dry favas, boiled.

Things I hope to learn about fava beans this year:
What do the leaves taste like, and how to prepare them?
Do different varieties have better tasting leaves than others?
How do you grow your fava beans?
What natural methods do you use for pest/disease management?
What are your fava bean experiences?
Any recipes for cooking them that is exceptionally yummy?
Can they be grown Fukuoka style?

Should I have posted this under cooking, or beginners gardening, or transition crops (do we even have a category for Transition foods, right?)?
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
Posts: 1374
Location: northern California
45
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm becoming more and more impressed with favas also. They seem to be the easy choice for a grain legume here in our Mediterranean climate where most of the rain is over the winter. I plant them in October and they are dried down by midsummer or earlier. Usually only a few irrigations are needed, in the spring. I could probably dispense with these most years and still get a smaller crop.
I'm mostly interested in them as a dry bean.....a storable food staple comparable to dry beans or soybeans. Shelling them to eat green seems like a lot of work....I'd rather do that once and have it done, and usually I have a lot of other green veggies to eat. Quite a few resources say that the coat around each individual bean needs to be popped off, too.....ugh! But this same coat is a problem with the dry ones too. I think I have digestive issues with too much fiber so I'm interested in getting rid of that coating easily. It won't slough off after soaking, with or without quick boiling (as is done with soybeans to make tempeh---which is another thing I wish I could do with favas and so far failed at). What I've come up with so far that works pretty well is to crack them into pieces in a food processor, then stir this vigorously in a bucket. This will make most of the hulls come loose from the pieces of bean and they can be winnowed off by pouring the lot between 2 buckets out in the breeze. There will always be a few to pick off anyway but it's a lot better than picking them all out or eating them. My favorite way to cook them is with curry spices, as a dhal, and eaten with rice or other starchy base. I think they would be good cooked with ham like split dry peas, too.
I found a company in Canada that offers something like 20 varieties, more than I've seen elsewhere, and made trial of six or eight. Broad Windsor turned out to be the best for me....big, productive, and vigorous. There's a red-flowered variety, Cambridge Scarlet, that I'm saving seed and growing even though it's smaller, just because it's so pretty in bloom.....yay favas!
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 6016
Location: Left Coast Canada
749
books chicken tiny house
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Oh, I meant to mention the fibre issue. Thanks for reminding me. Do you have a different reaction to soluble vs insoluble fibre? I wonder which is in favas.

I've seen people mention that favas can be fermented like soy, and I've seen people mention that tempeh can be made with legumes other than soy - so, going from these two ideas, I'm guessing favas can be used to make tempeh, or a tempeh like product. I'm very eager to hear if anyone has ever made tempeh or tofu from favas.

If you ever find a quick and easy way to skin dry beans, let me know. I've been meaning to experiment with this, especially for scarlet runners and favas. Maybe blanching them like almonds would work? but then would that
 
William James
gardener
Posts: 1014
Location: Northern Italy
23
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There is a Big fava bean and a small fava bean. The small one is generally used for cover cropping but tastes good as well. You can not shell it and eat the pod with the seeds inside.
We had a bunker crop of both last year and we ate or sold everything we had.
William
 
Joseph Lofthouse
garden master
Posts: 2493
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
471
bee chicken food preservation fungi greening the desert
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I currently have fava beans flowering in my garden:





I grow the three main subspecies of favas: Broad Beans, Horse Beans, and Pigeon Beans. This remains a landrace development project for me. The first two years I planted them I harvested much less seed than went into the ground. The third year I harvested sufficient seed that I have about 1 cup of left over seeds after planting. I'm holding onto that as an emergency backup, but may eat it in a couple months. I'm about 4 zones colder than favas are expected to be winter hardy, but I did get some volunteers extremely early this spring, so I may target that trait as being worthwhile to me. It's also worthwhile to me to grow favas in the greenhouse for planting out as soon as the snow melts. That allows them more time to mature before it gets scalding hot here, because while they might flower like crazy in hot weather, the flowers don't set seed.

Favism is pretty common among beans... The poison is deactivated by intense cooking. Some people have run into problems with favism when using slow-cookers to cook kidney beans for example. I definitely wouldn't eat fava greens raw. And I have determined that I'm not going to sell fava greens, pods, or shellies at the farmer's market. Seems too risky to ask people to be prudent.



 
Roberta Wilkinson
Posts: 175
Location: Washington Timber Country
18
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We grew summer favas with fairly good success on our native soil last year, which is pretty heavy clay that we're working on improving. We ate them all as shellies, and I thought they were yummy if a little more trouble than similar tasting green legumes like peas and snap beans. Blanching the beans and then pinching the tough secondary hulls off was an extra step but not much trouble when I got it down. I will admit that it's a little disappointing to bring in an armload of those big fat pods and only be left with a small bowl of hulled beans.

We tried overwintering them this year, which our climate is supposed to be about ideal for, but I think the weather betrayed us. We had a beautiful mild fall all the way into November, and the fall favas grew up to 12-18" tall. Then a hard, hard frost hit out of nowhere for a week or more - like down to 18 degrees from 40+. Those big beautiful favas with their succulent stems shattered in the sudden cold, and most died. A few did come back for us this spring and are in full flower:



I would like to devise a simple and effective method for processing and cooking the dry beans. I've heard that after a long soak that secondary hull is pretty easy to remove, but I can't claim to have done it myself yet. The crushing and winnowing method sounds interesting, so maybe I'll give that a stab if plain soaking is a no-go.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
garden master
Posts: 2493
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
471
bee chicken food preservation fungi greening the desert
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Why remove the secondary hull at all? I guess I'm fortunate to be self-taught in regards to eating favas. It tastes fine to me... The texture is pleasant... Saves labor to eat the secondary hulls. But then, I eat watermelon and apple seeds too. Saves the labor of spitting them out.

 
Roberta Wilkinson
Posts: 175
Location: Washington Timber Country
18
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm self educated also, but took to the internet for advice when it came to, "Why are my favas so godawful chewy?" It's the hulls.

If you have a strain that tasty with secondary hulls intact, please, please market it.
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
Posts: 1374
Location: northern California
45
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think that favas may differ by variety in cold tolerance. And it might depend on the stage of growth, smaller plants being more tolerant. My Broad Windsors and some bell beans came through a 12 degree freeze quite nicely, with a low percentage of kill. But they were only 6 inches tall or so. Most of them froze back but then branched out from the base and probably grew back bushier and stronger than ever.
 
Roberta Wilkinson
Posts: 175
Location: Washington Timber Country
18
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yes Alder, I think that was our problem exactly. This strain was supposed to be selected for overwintering ability in our area, but the extremely mild fall was unusual, and I think allowed the plants to become too developed before such an abrupt and deep freeze. They should have gone dormant when they were much smaller.

We'll be saving seed from the survivors for next year, for sure.
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 6016
Location: Left Coast Canada
749
books chicken tiny house
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Beautiful beans!

So... does anyone here eat the leaves and new shoots?

I'm thinking about favism and the anti nutrients that can be active in raw fava beans, would these also be an issue when eating the leaves? All the garden and cook books I've found so far say the leaves can be eaten raw or cooked, but I have doubts as to how many of these authors have actually tried the leaves. It may just be one of those myths that one person said and then everyone else repeats.


Another question: What is the variety standard for Broad Windsor? My plants have a great deal of variation, some with purple flowers, some with white, most with mostly white with move tinge flowers, some purple stems, different heights, pointy leaves, round ones, oval ones, &c. It's time to rogue out the plants before they come into full flower, but there is so much variation, I don't know which ones to rogue. These are all being grown from commercial seed. I had planed to bulk up on this variety then use it for future breeding, but now I suspect the seeds aren't pure. At least I can still eat them, or toss them into a sack of random fava beans and use them for landrace seed.
 
William James
gardener
Posts: 1014
Location: Northern Italy
23
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
R Ranson wrote:

I'm thinking about favism and the anti nutrients that can be active in raw fava beans, would these also be an issue when eating the leaves?


I've heard people can't even go near a field planted in fava beans because they will have an allergic reaction.
W
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 6016
Location: Left Coast Canada
749
books chicken tiny house
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
William James wrote:
R Ranson wrote:

I'm thinking about favism and the anti nutrients that can be active in raw fava beans, would these also be an issue when eating the leaves?


I've heard people can't even go near a field planted in fava beans because they will have an allergic reaction.
W


You're right, it is very important to be aware of your allergies and to be cautious with any new foods.

Fava beans are no exception for this, there are many plants that people with allergies can have strong, and potentially deadly reactions to just by being near where they plant is grown. It depends on the individual allergy and what strength it presents itself. As I mentioned in the first post, it's really up to the individual to be aware of their own allergies and sensitivities and act according to the specific situation.

For the purpose of this thread, let's assume we are talking about/to people who are not sensitive/allergic to Fava beans.
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
Posts: 9893
Location: Portugal
891
bee bike books duck forest garden greening the desert solar trees wofati
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I eat the leaves and tops quite regularly, sometimes steamed, sometimes thrown in with other greens as they are cooking or with a stew when it is nearly cooked, sometimes raw in salads

My husband sometimes picks young pods, slices them and stir fries them for a quick meal.

My son doesn't really like them, but an elderly friend of mine who lives nearby was so horrified to hear about it that she's summoned me over to hear place so I can learn to cook them in the local style, with chouriço and eggs. I'll be sure to take my camera if I go!
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 6016
Location: Left Coast Canada
749
books chicken tiny house
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
...an elderly friend of mine who lives nearby was so horrified to hear about it that she's summoned me over to hear place so I can learn to cook them in the local style, with chouriço and eggs. I'll be sure to take my camera if I go!


In the interest of advancing culinary knowledge and expanding the group's understanding of this important Transition food, I feel you should take her up on the offer as soon as possible, camera in tow. What an amazing opportunity! I'm sure I'm not the only one turning fava-green with envy that you have firsthand access to traditional food knowledge.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
garden master
Posts: 2493
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
471
bee chicken food preservation fungi greening the desert
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
R Ranson wrote:Another question: What is the variety standard for Broad Windsor? My plants have a great deal of variation, some with purple flowers, some with white, most with mostly white with move tinge flowers, some purple stems, different heights, pointy leaves, round ones, oval ones, &c. It's time to rogue out the plants before they come into full flower, but there is so much variation, I don't know which ones to rogue. These are all being grown from commercial seed. I had planed to bulk up on this variety then use it for future breeding, but now I suspect the seeds aren't pure. At least I can still eat them, or toss them into a sack of random fava beans and use them for landrace seed.


Broad Windsor became a variety in about 1863. That was before people thought that varieties aught to be pure or highly inbred. I suppose that genetic diversity is the proper description for the variety.

What a glorious variety to use for a breeding project! The first thing I do when I want to start a breeding project is to creolize the seeds. Throw their purity out the window. Get rid of the intense inbreeding. Then the first year or two of the breeding project I allow the seed to continue to creolize and shuffle their genetics. The first few years I select almost exclusively for survival-of-the-fittest, which is usually defined as the ability to create offspring. If a plant produces one seed, and other plants produce a hundred, then the offspring of the more productive plants will come to dominate the populations. I can't select for local adaptation if the genetics of the variety are too narrow. Breeding projects require genetic diversity to start with.

I'm not smart enough to decide if red stems or green stems are more productive... I can't tell if pink flowers, crimson flowers, or black/white flowers, or white only flowers lead to better pollination and thus higher yield. Things like height of the plant or bushiness don't tell me anything about how much I'll be able to harvest from a plant... Bushiness might lead to better canopy coverage and suppress weeds better. Taller plants might outgrow weeds, but could lodge in a storm. But, if I save most every seed that is produced, after a few years the crop itself will rearrange it's genetics to maximize seed production.

It helps to have goals for your project... Are you after the maximum number of seeds? or are you after the biggest seeds? or are you after maximum weight of seeds? In one of my bean projects I collect the seed in bulk, but then weigh every seed, and only replant the heaviest seeds. I'd get faster results if I collected the seed from each plant separately before weighing, but the extra labor would come at the time of year when labor is scarcest. Or are you growing for salad greens? Or decorative flowers?

Or are you growing shellies? If you are growing for yourself, then you might like the more robust taste of the purple favas. If you are growing for market, you customers might prefer the bland/boring tastes of light green favas. The ability of the plant to make purple coloration in the seeds may be closely linked to the colors made in the stems and flowers, so if you decide against purple seeds, then eliminating the pink, purple, and crimson from the flowers and stems might help with selection... But what if the purple coloration helps with things like pollination? Or does a better job of repelling bugs, or blights, or excess sunlight?

I can't know what is best for my garden... So my plant breeding style is to introduce genetic diversity into my varieties, and let the plants rearrange their genetics to survive as best as they can. Then I add some farmer directed selection. If a plant germinates a month later than the rest of the plants then it will get culled. If it grows 1/4 the rate of the other plants then it will get culled. If it's the only plant in the patch that is wilted every time I walk past then it will get culled. My goal with culling is to not cull for cosmetic reasons, but only for traits that lead to lower productivity.


 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 6016
Location: Left Coast Canada
749
books chicken tiny house
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks Joseph, great info as usual.


Even if it isn't strictly Broad Windsor, at least I have something interesting.

What I've observed in this year's Broad Windsor overwintered crop:
All purple flower are the least common, about 5-10%
Purple tinged flower is about half of the plants
white flowers about 20-25%
The more round the leaf the more purple the flower. The long, pointy leaves have white flowers.
the round leaves were the most delicious to the bugs

All I've rouged out so far are the ones that were most affected by the grubs, and a few that died over the winter. So those numbers were from after the rogue.

Which means there were probably a lot more purple flowers, maybe 20-25%% of the original. This is starting to look like the numbers in Deppe's book for an F2 generation 25% all purple, 50% slightly purple, 25% white - what do you think? Only the (big word, starts with H) Ff ones show both the purple and the white mixed, instead of only showing one dominant colour.



My goals for my fava landrace:
-over winters well, even on years when we actually have winter. I might need to find someone with actual winters to help select for this.
-has uniform cooking time - which will probably be all the beans the same size when dry.
-can grow in my conditions - no chemicals, only soil supplements being manure, compost and wood ash.
-be yummy at all stages of eating - if it's going to be a multi-purpose crop with green leaves, shelling beans and dry beans, it needs to be delicious at every stage of harvest.
-makes a decent miso paste
-has enough genetic variety in it that I can still get some sort of harvest in a bad year.

Other than that, decorative flowers would be nice.



 
Joseph Lofthouse
garden master
Posts: 2493
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
471
bee chicken food preservation fungi greening the desert
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
R Ranson: That's a great set of goals... Sometimes when I get into the midst of a breeding project, something odd shows up that just begs to become a brand new breeding project.

Mendelian genetics is useful for making predictions about the descendents of two highly inbred plants that are closely related to each other before being crossed.

Mendelian genetics is much less useful with populations containing mixed genetics, or with plants that are distantly related. It is harder to make predictions about populations since we don't know what we started with, and there are a lot of loci interacting with each other in so many different ways that the mathematics of making predictions gets too complex to calculate.
 
Rowan Godfrey
Posts: 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Alder Burns wrote:I'm becoming more and more impressed with favas also. They seem to be the easy choice for a grain legume here in our Mediterranean climate where most of the rain is over the winter. I plant them in October and they are dried down by midsummer or earlier. Usually only a few irrigations are needed, in the spring. I could probably dispense with these most years and still get a smaller crop.
I'm mostly interested in them as a dry bean.....a storable food staple comparable to dry beans or soybeans. Shelling them to eat green seems like a lot of work....I'd rather do that once and have it done, and usually I have a lot of other green veggies to eat. Quite a few resources say that the coat around each individual bean needs to be popped off, too.....ugh! But this same coat is a problem with the dry ones too. I think I have digestive issues with too much fiber so I'm interested in getting rid of that coating easily. It won't slough off after soaking, with or without quick boiling (as is done with soybeans to make tempeh---which is another thing I wish I could do with favas and so far failed at). What I've come up with so far that works pretty well is to crack them into pieces in a food processor, then stir this vigorously in a bucket. This will make most of the hulls come loose from the pieces of bean and they can be winnowed off by pouring the lot between 2 buckets out in the breeze. There will always be a few to pick off anyway but it's a lot better than picking them all out or eating them. My favorite way to cook them is with curry spices, as a dhal, and eaten with rice or other starchy base. I think they would be good cooked with ham like split dry peas, too.
I found a company in Canada that offers something like 20 varieties, more than I've seen elsewhere, and made trial of six or eight. Broad Windsor turned out to be the best for me....big, productive, and vigorous. There's a red-flowered variety, Cambridge Scarlet, that I'm saving seed and growing even though it's smaller, just because it's so pretty in bloom.....yay favas!


Hi Alder, what company is it in Canada if you don't mind me asking? Im looking to add to my collection of Favas
 
Joseph Lofthouse
garden master
Posts: 2493
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
471
bee chicken food preservation fungi greening the desert
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I erroneously posted the following:

Joseph Lofthouse wrote:Favism is pretty common among beans... The poison is deactivated by intense cooking. Some people have run into problems with favism when using slow-cookers to cook kidney beans for example. I definitely wouldn't eat fava greens raw. And I have determined that I'm not going to sell fava greens, pods, or shellies at the farmer's market. Seems too risky to ask people to be prudent.


I apologize for my error. What I had meant to write is:

Joseph Lofthouse wrote:phytohaemagglutinin is pretty common among beans... The poison is deactivated by intense cooking. For example, some people have run into problems with phytohaemagglutinin when using slow-cookers to cook kidney beans. I definitely wouldn't eat fava greens raw. And I have determined that I'm not going to sell fava greens, pods, or shellies at the farmer's market. Seems too risky to ask people to be prudent.


Eating beans safely required long/hot cooking times, and people are too prone to eat greens, pods, or shellies without cooking them long enough to deactivate the phytohaemagglutinin.

Phytohaemagglutinin causes nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. I tasted a raw fava leaf today... Yup. It definitely had the taste that I have come to associate with bean poison.
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 6016
Location: Left Coast Canada
749
books chicken tiny house
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for clearing that up Joseph. Hope you didn't get ill from the bean.

This reminds me of two things that are on my mind right now.

First, do I really want to try raw fava leaves? The books say there is nothing to worry about - but I don't know how much I trust them. I can eat other beans raw with no problem, even pretty old scarlet runners, but I've never tried the leaves (apparently some leaves can be eaten like runner beans and cowpeas - or so I've read, don't try them just on my word). Favas just give me a funny feeling like I shouldn't eat them raw in any form. I can't really explain it, but when I touch the plant to pick the new shoots, my skin tingles like this isn't good to put in my mouth as it is. Favas have always given me that feeling, even when I see other people popping the raw young beans in their mouth like it's candy, I just didn't feel like I should try them.

No other bean I've grown has given me this reaction, but I do have a strong sensitivity to soy, a very strong one, so perhaps there is a common element in favas?

The other thing that I've been wondering about is bean flour. Apparently it's amazing and useful, but when used, it doesn't seem to be cooked very much. No where near as long as whole beans. Does the smaller size (ie flour vs whole bean) make it that much faster to cook, or would it be easier to digest if the bean flour was soaked first (like some people do with wheat flour)? How much of this phyto-longword is a problem when using bean flours?

Then that gets me thinking... how does one use bean flour? Hopefully I can dig out my Indian cookbook for some answers on that one, but until then, does anyone here use bean flour? How about making flour out of fava beans? I think it would be too oily for my stone mill, but it would probably work well with my hand crank mill. If I had a good recipe to try, I think I would get out my mill and make some fava flour this evening.

 
Joseph Lofthouse
garden master
Posts: 2493
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
471
bee chicken food preservation fungi greening the desert
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
R Ranson: Ha! Because you brought it up, I remember having an upset stomach yesterday. It was mild, and passed quickly. I was wondering about what I ate to upset myself. I'm very sensitive to wheat but hadn't had any for weeks. Hmmm. Wondering if it was the raw fava leaves?

Sometimes, people feed me bean flour baked into cakes or breads. It is very offensive to my taste buds because I can taste the bean poison. The concentration varies widely from variety to variety and species to species... Tepary bean pods are super-nasty. If I were writing a cookbook, bean flour would not be used in making breads. Too hard to get them hot enough for long enough to deactivate the poison. Perhaps deep fried tortilla chips with bean flour would be an appropriate use.

I use bean flour to thicken soups and stews. It works fine for that purpose -- if it's boiled long enough to deactivate the poison, or if varieties are chosen that have low concentrations.
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
Posts: 1374
Location: northern California
45
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
@ Rowan
"Hi Alder, what company is it in Canada if you don't mind me asking? Im looking to add to my collection of Favas"
It's been three or four years ago, and I've been saving seed ever since. I grew out a bunch and the windsor seemed to be the biggest beans (thus, easiest to process), and highest yield, so I just have a few of some of the others. I just tried to google it and the company seems to have disappeared....
 
Mike Turner
Posts: 329
Location: Upstate SC
7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The main problem I have with growing fava beans here in South Carolina is their inability to set fruit when the air temperature is over 80 degrees F at the time of flowering (a characteristic it shares with scarlet runner beans). So when we have one of those springs that transition quickly into summer heat, I get good plant growth, but few pods. For me it is a great green manure that will often overwinter, but iffy as a vegetable. On the positive side, aphids are almost seen on favas around here. Kudzu bugs ignored them for the first two years following their invasion in my region, then on the third spring attacked them with a vengeance (plants totally covered with 10,000's of them), then last year the bugs disappeared completely from my garden and I have yet to see them this spring, which has been a cool one this far, hopefully leading to good pod production..
 
Rose Pinder
Posts: 410
Location: Otago, New Zealand
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
http://www.favabeans.parkinsonsrecovery.com/

Those people are making fava bean tincture to self treat for Parkinsons. They're using the plant tips or beans I think. She suggests getting tested for favism, and if clear there shouldn't be problems with the green tips/flowers or the beans.
 
Joel Andrews
Posts: 5
Location: Philadelphia, PA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
FWIW, I grew Windsors for the first time this year in my hugelkultur bed, and when the black aphids showed up I sprayed the plants with a fresh batch of actively aerated compost tea. The aphids were completely gone the next day. Not sure if the tea had something in it that the aphids didn't like, or if it helped beef up the plants' immune system enough to repel them on their own. Whatever the case, they look very happy and robust at the moment.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
garden master
Posts: 2493
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
471
bee chicken food preservation fungi greening the desert
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have been working on developing locally adapted favas for 4 growing seasons. It's finally looking like I will get much more seed this year than what went into the ground. The first few years I didn't even break even or anywhere close.

Here's what one of my fava patches looked like today. The plants are waist high!!!


Last year many of them looked like this, barely even getting ankle high: But I saved seeds from the best plants and tried again this year.


Woo Hoo! That's progress. There are still plants this year that are so far out of their comfort zone that they are flowering like crazy but aren't setting fruit. However, many are setting lots of fruit. I am trialing lots of varieties from far away gardens, so I expected a wide range of adaptability to my conditions.


 
John Elliott
pollinator
Posts: 2392
79
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Mike Turner wrote:The main problem I have with growing fava beans here in South Carolina is their inability to set fruit when the air temperature is over 80 degrees F at the time of flowering (a characteristic it shares with scarlet runner beans). So when we have one of those springs that transition quickly into summer heat, I get good plant growth, but few pods.


I find that the key to getting good bean production in our climate is to put them under row covers for the winter. I have planted them in early November the last couple of years. The winter of 2014 was too cold for them (a couple 14F nights will do them in), so this year I made sure to have the row covers over them when it was forecast to drop into the teens. That seemed to do the trick, and then when more favorable, but still cool growing weather returned in March, they were of a good size to start flowering and setting pods. By May they were mostly done, but that still made for a few weeks of fresh favas, along with a goodly harvest of dry beans.
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 6016
Location: Left Coast Canada
749
books chicken tiny house
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've found that some of the favas, if under 2 inch tall, will withstand 14F/ -10C just fine, but others like Windsor, wither if they have to spend much time under -5C. The ones I grew from the grocery store one year, got as cold as -17 for a few days, and had no problem with it, but they were only about an inch tall when they went dormant due to frost.
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 6016
Location: Left Coast Canada
749
books chicken tiny house
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So I finished harvesting and drying my fava beans. For the most part I left them on the plant until the whole plant dry down, then striped the pods off the plant, dry the pods some more, shelled them. I dried enough seed for two years as per normal, then dried the rest in the dehydrator at 95F as per Carol Deppe's recommendation in The Resilient Gardener, which is suppose to greatly extend the shelf life of the seed.

There is one very odd thing about this farm, especially the soil in this particular garden that I was wondering if you could help me figure out what is happening.

It's happened in years past with other dry beans and pulses, but this year it's most pronounced with the favas. The skin colour of the bean is far too pale.

The seeds I harvested from my Broad Windsor fava beans are a pale green, whereas the original seed from the store was a rich brown. That's okay I suppose. I'm loosing my trust with this seed company, as the plants don't always grow as described on the packet anymore. There was a lot of variation in the fava plants, including stem colour, hight, flower colour, seed shape, &c and so on. So it is possible there was some cross pollination going on before the beans got to me. Still, they were heavy croppers and gave me enough beans for many years of seed and twice what I usually eat in a year.

I just thought it odd and shrugged it off.

But then I harvested my Martoc fava and the same thing happened. The deep chocolate beans I planted transformed into tan coloured harvest.

Last year I planted these little red chickpeas that I found at the grocery store. They had a deep red, almost black skin but when harvested my chickpeas were a light buff colour. I thought maybe it was because grocery store seeds are unpredictable. However, my friend also planted some of the same seed, and her's harvested as a reddy brown colour.


Maybe it's something in my soil that is effecting the colour of the seed coat? Is it perhaps, that I use so little water after the rains stop, or maybe the soil is too rich in some nutrient, or not rich enough in the other? I use mostly compost, manure, llama berries, and wood ash on this garden. The soil is loamy-dust, with some sand. No matter the amount of organic matter I add to the soil, it stays dusty.
IMG_0293.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_0293.JPG]
Windsor
IMG_0294.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_0294.JPG]
Martoc
 
Roger Taylor
Posts: 104
Location: New Zealand
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My understanding was that when you purchase varieties like Windsor which aren't red, the brown is chemical treatment to deal with diseases. At least that's what I found out when I researched why mine were brown.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
garden master
Posts: 2493
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
471
bee chicken food preservation fungi greening the desert
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

I have noticed in a number of species of beans and peas that it is very common for them to turn brown in storage... So a bean that has a pale coat this year can have a brown coat in a year or two. Also, seed companies tend to grow many years worth of seed in one crop so the seed might be many years old before it makes it into a seed packet, so that's plenty of time to turn brown. Or if they grow a crop every year, they will use up the older seed before the newer. As long at it passes germination testing, or can have enough newer seed added to pass germination testing then no worries.

Here's hoping that I'll get good photos of the phenomena with the upcoming harvests.
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 6016
Location: Left Coast Canada
749
books chicken tiny house
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Roger Taylor wrote:My understanding was that when you purchase varieties like Windsor which aren't red, the brown is chemical treatment to deal with diseases. At least that's what I found out when I researched why mine were brown.


Maybe... however, I've always seen Windsor described as a brown bean when dry and I've never bought treated seed.

Joseph Lofthouse wrote:I have noticed in a number of species of beans and peas that it is very common for them to turn brown in storage... So a bean that has a pale coat this year can have a brown coat in a year or two. Also, seed companies tend to grow many years worth of seed in one crop so the seed might be many years old before it makes it into a seed packet, so that's plenty of time to turn brown. Or if they grow a crop every year, they will use up the older seed before the newer. As long at it passes germination testing, or can have enough newer seed added to pass germination testing then no worries.


It could be the age of the seed. The Windsor I got says it has 85% germ rate on the packet, but the normal standard for selling fava seeds in Canada is 95%. So I'm guessing the seeds are a couple of years old before being packaged for sale.

Though I wonder...my chickpea seed from last year hasn't deepened in colour yet.

I just don't know.
It could be what you say, but since it's happened with different kinds of legumes, and it didn't happen to the plants grown in my friends garden from the same seed batch, I wonder if there isn't something wrong with my soil or harvesting technique.
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 6016
Location: Left Coast Canada
749
books chicken tiny house
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here's an interesting thing about Windsor Fava beans from Mother Earth News describing the dry beans as white or greenish white:

...The dry seed should be “of white colour” and very large. Well, they are greenish white and, like Dr. Martin’s lima, lose their natural ability to germinate after three years. In commerce, however, the truly green Windsors were called Tokers (now called Green Windsors) and the small seeds sifted out of the seed stock were sold as Mumfords, practices that have given rise to the false impression that these were distinct varieties. There are probably several hundred popular names for various types and conditions of Windsor beans, but the truth is, they are all the same bean.


It's my first time seeing windsor described as a pale colour in it's dried bean form.

Although, the martoc in the same article, is described as brown. Then again, my martoc beans had between 3 to 6 beans per pod unlike the 2 per pod that the article suggested is standard.


It makes me wonder if a lot of these old style favas should be referred to as 'landrace' rather than 'cultivar' or 'variety'.


 
Joseph Lofthouse
garden master
Posts: 2493
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
471
bee chicken food preservation fungi greening the desert
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Here's a couple examples of beans changing colors as they age. These are common beans. The inset photos were taken shortly after harvest about 9 months ago. The main photo was taken today.

 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 6016
Location: Left Coast Canada
749
books chicken tiny house
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wow, that is very different. Thank you for posting the photo. Now I'm not feeling quite so bad about my beans.
 
Sharla Kew
Posts: 75
Location: Montana
53
greening the desert solar transportation
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Heyo! I made an image from the advice in this thread. Thanks to Roberta Wilkinson for letting me use her picture of fava bean flowers.
favaBeanInfo.jpg
[Thumbnail for favaBeanInfo.jpg]
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 6016
Location: Left Coast Canada
749
books chicken tiny house
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Nice image! Thanks for that.
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 6016
Location: Left Coast Canada
749
books chicken tiny house
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I found this interesting fava dried fava bean thing in the shop the other day.



What it was, were dried fava beans that had been lightly crushed and had their skins winnowed off. No English on the packet, so I don't know what to call it. Most of the fava beans were in quarters, but some of them were still halves.

This stuff cooks up super quick. Soaking doesn't seem to make any difference to the cooking time, but giving the beans a good soak does seem to help with my digestion. It very quickly becomes a paste which makes a good base for a soup or a stew. I really like it because I find fava skins chewy and bitter. Without the skins, the favas were much easier for me to digest.

I also used these in my recent felafel adventure - half this, half chickpeas.

The next thing is to try making these broken fava beans with the beans I grew myself. Not having much luck with google, I thought I would give my hand crank mill a try and see what happened.



This is the widest apart I can set the plates. As you can see, it gets some of the skin off.



It also pulverizes the bean a bit more than I want. I suppose I should be happy as this will cut down on cooking time... but still. I imagine there must be a better way.
IMG_0563.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_0563.JPG]
broken fava beans
IMG_0577.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_0577.JPG]
attempting to mill my own broken favas
IMG_0578.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_0578.JPG]
worked okay
 
Joseph Lofthouse
garden master
Posts: 2493
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
471
bee chicken food preservation fungi greening the desert
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

On my grain grinder, I am able to get a bit more space between the plates by adding a washer or two, or three, to the bolt before tightening it down.

 
Crusading Chameleon likes the size of this ad:
21 podcast review of Sepp Holzer's Permaculture
https://permies.com/wiki/54445/digital-market/digital-market/podcast-review-Sepp-Holzer-Permaculture
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!