Harvesting My Fava Beans and Greens
Fava beans (aka broad beans) should be in your top 5 of foods/seeds to keep around for emergency scenarios. Here’s why this legume is a badass:
- Nitrogen fixer: Fertilizes the soil as it grows. In fact, fava beans have some of the highest rates of nitrogen fixing of any cover crop.
- Multiple edible parts: Other than the beans, yes, the leaves are edible. I’ve been growing the fava beans in a separate container for the expressed purpose of harvesting the greens! You can eat it raw, but I prefer a quick stir fry with garlic. It got a meaty texture like spinach without the ironiness. As for the beans, some people even pick the super young and tender pods to eat them whole.
- Fast turnaround: The plant is a voracious grower. Starting as dried beans from the supermarket, these guys were ready to harvest within 3 to 4 months, and it’s been a shitty spring. The leaves can be ready as soon as 4 to 6 weeks.
- Cold Resist: Relevant for me at least since I’m up north. I had these guys growing in late Nov and Dec last year. They blossomed, but didn’t form any pods due to the lack of pollination I guess. At least the leaves can be harvested.
- Health benefits: High in fiber, diverse in minerals, low in sodium, high in carbs…which in my case is GOOD!!! I need that energy for my active lifestyle, but fava beans don’t weigh you down like a potato.
- Cooking versatility: Fried it, stew it, mash it, grill it, ferment it. Eat it raw. Good sub for some potato dishes.
- Long Term Storage: Fava beans dry very well and be easily stored for winter and long term usage.
In closing, fava beans are delicious and I will fight you if you disagree! Unless you have a genetic sensitivity to fava beans, in which case I feel bad for you…