Fava beans - also known as broad beans - are one of the hottest things to eat this summer. High in protein and fibre, tasty and versatile to cook – there is something special about this often overlooked, tender little bean.
The fava bean is one of the oldest cultivated crops in the UK and has been a Mediterranean mainstay for centuries. In fact, fava was a most nutritious bean that fed ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. And we all know there are many benefits to eating the Mediterranean way.
After falling out of fashion for years in the UK, the nutritional benefits of fava beans means they are making a comeback. In fact, all pulses are now health heroes, after the UN officially named 2016 as the International Year of Pulses.
Yes, you do have to shell them (unless you go the minimal-effort route and buy frozen ones) but the freshness is worth the effort. Put them in a pan and cook in boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Plunge the cooked beans into cold water. When cool, slit the side of each pod and slide the bean out. You can eat them whole with their skins on, but they’re much nicer without!
The bean has a creamy texture and slightly nutty taste, making it ideal to use in salads, stews, pastas and soups. Here are three delicious and healthy fava bean recipe ideas for you to try:
Try munching on them raw straight from the pod. They're quite sweet and taste really healthy.
I like the look of that potato salad, it's all about those early summer flavours. Even better with all those good contents.
I didn't know that these are the same as broad beans - so that's what Hannibal Lecter ate! We've got these growing in the garden for the first time so I look forward to trying these recipes.