Culture: Favas tolerate frost and prefer daytime air temps below 75°. More heat can cause poor pod set, while in cooler climates a second flush can appear. Don’t delay: sow the large seeds 3–4" apart as early as peas. Usually harvested when the 2–3 light green beans in the 3–6" glossy pods reach the green shell stage—shelled beans can be squeezed out of their membranes after parboiling.
Staffer Emily Skrobis contests the need to peel each bean. She says, “I’d recommend that for dried favas, but fresh is another story. You lose a lot of flavor and food (and time!) that way. Keeping the membranes on alters the texture, of course, but I still thoroughly enjoy them. Homesteading is a lot of work and I try to avoid extra steps in processing, and so I decided to just get used to keeping on all tomato skins and fava membranes.” To avoid this issue altogether, you can harvest them young when pods and membranes are still tender.
Favas are mainstays in many cultures from ancient Rome to modern-day Mexico, Egypt, Sudan, the Middle East, Brazil and India. Rich in fiber and iron and highest of all beans in protein. You can even eat the leaves!
For the latest results of our germination tests, please see the germination page.