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Harvesting and Preserving Fava Beans


Harvesting Fava Beans
This is the first year that we have ever grown fava beans.  We enjoyed watching the plants grow and observing their unique flowers in the spring.  

fava bean flowers

fava bean flowers

We were also impressed with how the bean pods grew upside down on the stalk of the plant.  It appeared at first that we would have an abundant harvest based on how large the bean pods looked.

fava beans growing on plant

The other day, we realized it was time to harvest the fava beans, as the beans had grown 6-8 inches long and the plant foliage was starting to dry out and die back.  Although we had only planted one row about 20 feet in length, I really thought there would be a lot of beans and a great harvest. However, once we picked all of the beans off the plants, the entire harvest filled only one grocery bag.  Then, once we had shelled the beans, we noticed that amount dwindled to about 4 cups of shelled beans.  Finally, once we had blanched the beans and removed their outer protective layer, we were down to just 3 cups of beans. It was definitely a surprise to end up with so small an amount from that big row of bean plants.

shelled fava beans

The outer protective shell of the bean is interesting.  If you blanch these raw beans for about 1 minute, the outer protective shell becomes soft enough to pinch off easily.  Then you can squeeze one end and the inner bean pops out.

After we had removed the protective shell on all the beans, I blanched them again for about 30 seconds, because it seemed that they had not gotten very warm in the centers.  Then I put the beans into a container and froze them. We'll put them into soup for dinner one fall or winter evening.