Vicia faba, also known as the broad bean, fava bean, faba bean, field bean, bell bean, or tic bean, is a species of bean (Fabaceae) native to North Africa, southwest and south Asia, and extensively cultivated elsewhere. A variety Vicia faba var. equina Pers. – horse bean has been previously recognized.
- 1 Composition
- 2 Cultivation
- 3 Pests and diseases
- 4 Culinary uses
- 5 Health issues
- 6 Nutritional information
- 7 Other uses
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
It is a rigid, erect plant 0.5–1.8 m tall, with stout stems of a square cross-section. The leaves are 10–25 cm long, pinnate with 2–7 leaflets, and of a distinct glaucous grey-green color; unlike most other vetches, the leaves do not have tendrils for climbing over other vegetation. The flowers are 1–2.5 cm long, with five petals, the standard petal white, the wing petals white with a black spot (true black, not deep purple or blue as is the case in many "black" colorings,) and the keel petals are white. Crimson-flowered broad beans also exist, which were recently saved from extinction. The flowers have a strong and sweet scent which is attractive to bees and other pollinators. The fruit is a broad, leathery pod, green maturing to blackish-brown, with a densely downy surface; in the wild species, the pods are 5–10 cm long and 1 cm diameter, but many modern cultivars developed for food use have pods 15–25 cm long and 2–3 cm thick. Each pod contains 3–8 seeds; round to oval and 5–10 mm diameter in the wild plant, usually flattened and up to 20–25 mm long, 15 mm broad and 5–10 mm thick in food cultivars. Vicia faba has a diploid (2n) chromosome number of 12 (six homologous pairs). Five pairs are acrocentric chromosomes and one pair is metacentric.
Broad beans have a long tradition of cultivation in Old World agriculture, being among the most ancient plants in cultivation and also among the easiest to grow. Along with lentils, peas, and chickpeas, they are believed to have become part of the eastern Mediterranean diet around 6000 BC or earlier. They are still often grown as a cover crop to prevent erosion, because they can overwinter and because as a legume, they fix nitrogen in the soil.
The broad bean has high plant hardiness; it can withstand harsh and cold climates. Unlike most legumes, the broad bean can be grown in soils with high salinity, as well as in clay soil. However, it does prefer to grow in rich loams.
In much of the English-speaking world, the name "broad bean" is used for the large-seeded cultivars grown for human food, while "horse bean" and "field bean" refer to cultivars with smaller, harder seeds (more like the wild species) used for animal feed, though their stronger flavour is preferred in some human food recipes, such as falafel. The term "fava bean" (from the Italian fava, meaning "broad bean") is usually used in English-speaking countries such as the US, but "broad bean" is the most common name in the UK and Australia
Pests and diseases
Broad bean plants are highly susceptible to early summer infestations of the black bean aphid, which can cover large sections of growing plants with infestations, typically starting at the tip of the plant. Severe infestations can significantly reduce yields, and can also cause discolouration of pods and reduction in their saleable values.
Faba bean rust is a fungal pathogen commonly affecting broad bean plants at maturity, causing small orange dots with yellow halos on the leaves, which may merge to form an orange lawn on both leaf surfaces.
Beans are also attacked by chocolate spot fungus, which can have a severe impact on yield.
In mainland Europe and North Africa, the plant parasite Orobanche crenata (carnation-scented broomrape) can cause severe impacts on fields of broad beans, devastating their yields.
Broad beans are eaten while still young and tender, enabling harvesting to begin as early as the middle of spring for plants started under glass or overwintered in a protected location, but even the main crop sown in early spring will be ready from mid to late summer. Horse beans, left to mature fully, are usually harvested in the late autumn. The young leaves of the plant can also be eaten either raw or cooked like spinach.
Broad beans were a major food of old Mediterranean civilizations, particularly for the Romans and Ancient Greeks.
Preparing favas involves first removing the beans from their pods, then parboiling the beans to loosen their exterior coating, and removing that before cooking.
The beans can be fried, causing the skin to split open, and then salted and/or spiced to produce a savory, crunchy snack. These are popular in China, Malaysia, Colombia, Peru (habas saladas), Guatemala (habas), Mexico (habas con chile), Gilan (North of Iran) and Thailand (where their name means "open-mouth nut").
In some Arab countries, the fava bean is used for a breakfast dish called ful medames.
Fava beans are common in Latin American cuisines, as well. In central Mexico, mashed fava beans are a common filling for many corn flour-based antojito snacks such as tlacoyos. In Colombia, they are most often used whole in vegetable soups. Dried and salted fava beans are a popular snack in many Latin countries.
Broad beans are widely cultivated in the Kech and Panjgur districts of Balochistan Province in Pakistan, and in the eastern province of Iran. They are called bakalaink in the Balochi language, and baghalee in Persian.
In the Sichuan cuisine of China, broad beans are combined with soybeans and chili peppers to produce a spicy fermented bean paste called doubanjiang. Perhaps due to the bean's popularity in Sichuan cuisine, in addition to the regular Chinese term for "broad bean", they are also known as "Sichuan beans" (川豆 chuāndòu) in Chinese.
Fava beans (Colombia: Haba(s)) are a common food in most regions of Colombia, mostly in Bogota and Boyacá.
Fava beans are used mostly in Dalmatia as a part of the traditional dish stuffed artichokes with fava beans and peas.
Fava beans (Arabic: فول fūl pronounced [fuːl]) are a common staple food in the Egyptian diet, eaten by rich and poor alike. Egyptians eat fava beans in various ways: they may be shelled and then dried, bought dried and then cooked by adding water in very low heat for several hours, etc. They are the primary ingredient in falafel. However, the most popular way of preparing them in Egypt is by taking the mashed, cooked beans and adding oil, salt and cumin to them. The dish, known as ful medames, is traditionally eaten with bread (generally at breakfast) and is considered the Egyptian national dish.
Broad beans (Amharic: baqella) are one of the most popular legumes in Ethiopia. They are tightly coupled with every aspect of Ethiopian life. They are mainly used as an alternative to peas to prepare a flour called shiro, which is used to make shiro wot (a stew almost ubiquitous in Ethiopian dishes). During the fasting period in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church tradition called Tsome Filliseta, Tsome arbeå, Tsome Tahsas, and Tsome Hawaria (which are in August, end of February–April, mid-November–beginning of January and June–July), two uncooked spicy vegetable dishes are made using broad beans. The first is Hilibet, a thin, white paste of broad bean flour mixed with pieces of onion, green pepper, garlic, and other spices based on personal taste. The second is silijou, a fermented, sour, spicy thin yellow paste of broad bean flour. Both are served with other stews and injera (a pancake-like bread) during lunch and dinner.
Baqella nifro (boiled broad beans) are eaten as a snack during some holidays and during a time of mourning. Interestingly, this tradition goes well into religious holidays, too. On the Thursday before Good Friday, in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church tradition tselote hamus (the Prayer of Thursday), people eat a different kind of nifro called gulban. Gulban is made of peeled, half beans collected and well cooked with other grains such as wheat, peas and chickpeas. This is done to mourn the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Boq'ullit (boiled salted broad beans embryo) is one of the most favorite snacks in the evening, the common story-telling time in north and central Ethiopia. It is particularly a favorite for the story-teller (usually a society elder), as it is delicious, and easy to chew and swallow.
Ripe broad beans are eaten by passers-by. Besides that, they are one of the gift items from a countryside relative in a period close to the Ethiopian Epiphany.
The Greek word fáva (φάβα) does not refer to broad beans, but to the yellow split pea and also to the legume Lathyrus sativus, either of which are boiled with salt to produce the local variety of pease pudding, also called fáva. This creamy fáva is then served hot or cold, sprinkled with olive oil and garnished with a variety of condiments and seasonings such as diced onion, capers, parsley, pepper, lemon juice, etc.
Broad beans (Greek: κουκιά, koukiá) are eaten in a stew combined with artichokes, while they are still fresh in their pods. Dried broad beans are eaten boiled, sometimes combined with garlic sauce (skordalia). In Crete, fresh broad beans are shelled and eaten as companion to tsikoudia, the local alcoholic drink. Favism is quite common in Greece because of malaria endemicity in previous centuries, and people afflicted by it do not eat broad beans.
Broad beans, or "Baghalee" (Persian: باقالی) are primarily cultivated in the central and north parts of Iran. The city of Kashan has the highest production of broad beans with high quality in terms of the taste, cooking periods and color. However, broad beans have a very short season (roughly two weeks.) The season is usually in the middle of spring. When people have access to fresh beans in season, they cook them in brine and then add vinegar and Heracleum persicum depending on taste. They also make an extra amount to dry to be used year round. The dried beans can be cooked with rice, which forms one of the most famous dishes in north of Iran (Gilan) called baghalee polo (Persian: باقالی پلو) which means "rice with broad beans". In Iran broad beans are cooked, served with Golpar-origan and salt and sold on streets in the winter. This food is also available preserved in metal cans.
In Rome, Italy, Fava beans are popular either cooked with guanciale or with globe artichokes, as side dish together with lamb or kid, or raw with Pecorino romano. Fave e Pecorino is the traditional dish for 1 May picnic.
They are a primary ingredient of the Maltese Kusksu, a vegetable soup primarily containing fava beans and pasta beads.
In Mexico, fava beans are often eaten in a soup called sopa de habas, meaning "fava soup." They are also eaten as a snack, in which they are fried, salted, and dried. They are either by themselves as a snack or in combination with other salted, dried beans and nuts.
In Morocco, fava beans are made into bessara, a dip sold as a street food.
In Nepal, fava beans are called bakulla. They are eaten as a green vegetable when the pods are young, generally stir-fried with garlic. When dried, fava beans are eaten roasted, or mixed with other legumes, such as moong beans, chick peas, and peas, and called qwati. The mixture, soaked and germinated, is cooked as soup and consumed with rice or beaten rice on day of Raksha Bandhan. The dry and stir-fried version of qwati is called biraula. The qwati soup is believed to reinvigorate the body affected by monsoon paddy season.
In the Netherlands, they are traditionally eaten with fresh savory and some melted butter. The combination of the beans tossed with crispy fried bacon is also common. When rubbed, the velvet insides of the pods are a folk remedy against warts.
Fava beans (Peru: Haba(s)) are eaten fresh or dried as stew, toasted, boiled, roasted, stewed, soup etc. Habas are one of the essential ingredients of the famous "Pachamanca" in the Andes of Peru, and are also an additive for "Panetela", which is a homemade remedy to keep your child fed and hydrated in cases of diarrhea or stomach infection and even for cholera treatment. To make Panetela combine and roast a cup of: fava bean (habas), barley, corn, wheat, rice and / or beans without allowing it to burn; add a cup of water, a carrot cut into pieces and a pinch of salt until fully cooked; drain, add water until it reaches a liter and boil one last time. For babies only the fluid is used.
Peruvian dishes with fava beans include:
- Aji de habas
- Saltado de habas
- El chupe de habas
- Ajiaco de Papas y habas
- Guiso de habas
- Shambar (heavy soup, traditional in Trujillo)
Fava beans (Arabic: فول fūl pronounced [fuːl])is one of the most widely consumed foods in Sudan. For most Sudanese this forms the main dish during lunch time (Fatoor),especially more so for city and urban dwellers. The beans are cooked by steadily boiling over a sustained period of time. Similar to Egypt, the cooked beans are mashed, and prepared by adding salt and pepper. For additional flavour sesame oil is added along with a sprinkling of Jibna ("Feta" cheese)on top. The dish is then eaten with bread and is sometimes refereed to as ful medames.
Raw broad beans also contain the alkaloids vicine and convicine which can induce hemolytic anemia in patients with the hereditary condition glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency. This potentially fatal condition is called favism after the fava bean. Areas of origin of the bean correspond to malarial areas. Some epidemiological and in vitro studies suggest the hemolysis resulting from favism acts as protection from malaria, because certain species of malarial protozoa, such as Plasmodium falciparum, are very sensitive to oxidative damage due to deficiency of the glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase enzyme, which would otherwise protect from oxidative damage via production of glutathione reductase.
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- In ancient Greece and Rome, beans were used in voting; a white bean was used to cast a yes vote, and a black bean for no. Even today, the word koukia (κουκιά) is used unofficially, referring to the votes. Beans were used as a food for the dead, such as during the annual Lemuria festival.
- The ancient Roman family name Fabia and the modern political term Fabian derive from this particular bean.
- The Pythagorean code prohibited the consumption or even touching of any sort of bean.
- In Ubykh culture, throwing beans on the ground and interpreting the pattern in which they fall was a common method of divination (favomancy), and the word for "bean-thrower" in that language has become a generic term for seers and soothsayers in general.
- The colloquial expression 'not worth a bean' alludes to their widespread economy and association with the peasant diet.
- In Italy, broad beans are traditionally sown on November 2, All Souls Day. Small cakes made in the shape of broad beans (though not out of them) are known as fave dei morti or "beans of the dead". According to tradition, Sicily once experienced a failure of all crops other than the beans; the beans kept the population from starvation, and thanks were given to Saint Joseph. Broad beans subsequently became traditional on Saint Joseph's Day altars in many Italian communities. Some people carry a broad bean for good luck; some believe that if one carries a broad bean, one will never be without the essentials of life. In Rome, on the first of May, Roman families traditionally eat fresh fava beans with Pecorino Romano cheese during a daily excursion in the Campagna. In northern Italy, on the contrary, fava beans are traditionally fed to animals and some people, especially the elderly, might frown on human consumption. But in Liguria, a maritime region near northern Italy, fava beans are loved raw, and consumed fresh in early spring as the first product of the garden, alone or with fresh Pecorino Sardo or with local salami from Sant'Olcese. In some Central Italian regions, a once-popular and recently rediscovered fancy food is the bagiana, a soup of fresh or dried fava beans seasoned with onions and beet leaves stir-fried, before being added to the soup, in olive oil and lard (or bacon or cured ham fat).
- In Portugal and Spain a Christmas cake called bolo Rei in Portuguese and roscón de reyes in Spanish (King's cake) is baked with a fava bean inside. Whoever eats the slice containing it, is supposed to buy next year's cake.
- A similar tradition exists in France, where the fève (originally a dried bean, but often now a small china or metal trinket) is placed in the galette des rois; the person who finds it in their slice becomes the king or queen of the meal, and is often expected to serve the other guests to drink.
- The Grimm Brothers collected a story in which a bean splits its sides laughing at the failure of others. Dreaming of a bean is sometimes said to be a sign of impending conflict, though others said they caused bad dreams.
- Pliny claimed they acted as a laxative.
- European folklore also claims that planting beans on Good Friday or during the night brings good luck.
- Frederick E Rose (London) Ltd v William H Pim Junior & Co Ltd  2 QB 450, is an English contract law case where the two litigants had both mistaken feveroles for ordinary horse beans.
- Can be used as a green manure, due to nitrogen fixation it produces.
- In the Netherlands, roasted or fried broad beans are regarded as a local delicacy of the city of Groningen, and is locally called molleboon. Until the 1800s, the city council used mollebonen for the voting process, sometimes real beans, sometimes made of stone of clay. The word Molleboon became a nickname for the inhabitants of the city.
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- "Daughter of the Soil". Daughter of the Soil. Retrieved 2013-04-30.
- NSW Agriculture 2002 - Honeybees in faba bean pollination
- Helstosky, Carol (2009). Food Culture in the Mediterranean. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 7. ISBN 0313346267.
- Collar "Recipes from Luxembourg", Luxembourg Tourist Office, London. Retrieved 3 December 2011.
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- Kathrynne Holden. "Fava Beans, Levodopa, and Parkinson's Disease".
- Russ Parsons. "The Long History of the Mysterious Fava Bean".
- Nelson, L. David; Cox, M. Michael. 2005. "Chapter 14- Glycolysis, Gluconeogenesis, and the Pentose Phosphate Pathway" in Principles of Biochemistry. Freeman, New York. p. 551.
- Vered, Y; Grosskopf, I; Palevitch, D; Harsat, A; Charach, G; Weintraub, MS; Graff, E (1997). "The influence of Vicia faba (broad bean) seedlings on urinary sodium excretion". Planta medica 63 (3): 237–40. PMID 9225606. doi:10.1055/s-2006-957661.
- Der Poela, A. F. B. Van; Dellaerta, L. M. W.; Norela, A. Van; Helspera, J. P. F. G. (1992). "The digestibility in piglets of faba bean (Vicia faba L.) as affected by breeding towards the absence of condensed tannins". British Journal of Nutrition 68 (03): 793–800. doi:10.1079/BJN19920134.
- Merghem, Rachid; Jay, Maurice; Brun, Nathalie; Voirin, Bernard (2004). "Qualitative analysis and HPLC isolation and identification of procyanidins from vicia faba". Phytochemical Analysis 15 (2): 95–99. doi:10.1002/pca.731.
- Griffiths, D. Wynne (1981). "The polyphenolic content and enzyme inhibitory activity of testae from bean (Vicia faba) and pea (Pisum spp.) varieties". Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 32 (8): 797–804. doi:10.1002/jsfa.2740320808.
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