Those who guessed lima beans for last week’s mystery seed of the week were very close. The big beans were actually fava or faba beans, Vicia faba.


Illustration from Wikimedia

Fava beans were originally from the Middle East and spread to the Mediterranean, northern Africa and southwest Asia. Now they are grown throughout the world.


The plants are cool season annuals with white, pea-like flowers.


To eat the seeds of the fava beans, first they must be removed from the pod. The seeds have a tough outer layer that must also be removed.

This video shows how to prepare the seeds.


If you have never tried fava beans, be aware that they are known to cause a severe adverse reaction known as favism in some people.

Fava beans are quite susceptible to aphids, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I was introduced to them when I used to grow fava beans to produce aphids to feed to lady bugs. See more about fava beans, aphids and lady bugs for Bug of the Week tomorrow.

Do you eat fava beans? Do you have a favorite recipe?