Fiddly Fava Beans

Fava beans are the best bean. Their nutty flavor and creamy texture is unlike any other, and they are truly a delicacy, especially in the early spring when little else is yet in season, and I’ve grown tired of winter crops and stored food.

But they aren’t widely eaten in this country because, frankly, they are a pain to prepare. The tasty beans grow inside not only a pod, but also a “seed coat” that is full of tannins, and therefore bitter. So, after shelling the beans from the pods, you have to “shell” them again, by parboiling them and then squeezing each…individual…bean…out of its coat.

So, next year, I am going to try growing a different kind of fava bean that may make the tedious step of removing the seed coat unnecessary. Sweet Lorane is a cultivar developed by the founder of Territorial Seeds, Steve Solomon, to be lower in tannins, and therefore, more palatable. They aren’t large seeds, like the kind of fava beans that are usually eaten, also known as broad beans. So I hope they do prove to be yummy in their coats, because I am definitely not going to want to squeeze each one of these.

The seeds themselves I actually purchased from one of my other favorite seed suppliers, Victory Seeds, rather than Territorial. Victory focuses on heirloom vegetables, and what I really love about them is that they also offer lots of information about the history and origins of the seeds they carry. The Broad Windsor fava beans that I have grown in the past with great success were from them, too.


Their Sweet Loranes were rescued by another man, Alan Adesse, who bred them back to their original low tannin character, after the cultivar had degenerated. I’m excited to try these, and hope to be free of fava frustration next year!

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