The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm


June 2nd, 2010 · 4 Comments · Posted in garden

Favas, snug in their deluxe padded pod

Favas, snug in their deluxe padded pod

Fava beans, the original Old World bean, is one of my favorite plants in the garden. The plant itself has a distinctive, almost prehistoric looking architecture. Then it one day it is covered with white flowers that look like white butterflies sitting ever so still with their wings folded, marked only by a black dot.

It won’t be too much longer before the bean plants, not quite three feet tall and arrow straight, are covered with improbably large pods, swollen, glossy and pregnant looking. And indeed they are. Inside are three or four beans, usually, wrapped snuggly in a furry, white casing. As if that weren’t enough protection, the beans are encased in a thin membrane that must be removed before the beans can be eaten. A few seconds blanching in boiling water usually does the trick. Just cut one end of the bean with a paring knife and it will pop right out, immaculately green.

These were planted March 8 and are ready to harvest. They could go a while longer, but favas prefer cool temperatures, and it’s feeling an awful lot like summer here in the District of  Columbia.

Favas are best eaten simply. We like them barely cooked in a green salad. Or, mash them up with some peas and pecorino cheese and spread on grilled slices of country bread. Drizzle with a little olive oil and you have a fabulous fava bruschetta.

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  • magic cochin

    Have you grown the Crimson Flowered variety? No need to peel, the skin is tender and bright pale green like the inner bean.


  • Sylvie

    mmm…. I was going to plant fava this year. Really, I was….but I don’t know what happened… NEXT year! (the peas are doing well though…)

  • Peta

    yummm, love fava beans, reminds me of home 🙂 We too eat them blanched (sometimes with fresh artichokes), olive oil and lemon. Makes for a great meal.

  • Ed Bruske

    Celia, thanks for this tip. I did a quick search and found an heirloom seed company that sells the crimson favas, but they are incredibly expensive? Are they more available where you are? I’ll keep looking.

    Sylvie, I was very envious of you pea plants. I think ours would do better with a little more sun. I didn’t see any more flowers on our snap peas so I took them down, to be replaced with cucumbers.

    Peta, I think simple is better where favas are concerned. They are so wonderful to look at just the way they are, I have a hard time messing with them.