Fava bean Facts

Fava bean Facts
Fava bean, also known as broad bean or faba bean, is herbaceous plant that belongs to the pea family. It probably originates from Asia Minor and Mediterranean region (exact origin and wild ancestor of this plant are unknown). Cultivation of fava bean started 6.800 to 6.500 years BC. Fava bean is cultivated in around 50 countries around the world today. It grows in cold climate on the rich, loamy soil. People cultivate fava bean as a source of food (both for humans and animals) and as a cover crop.
Interesting Fava bean Facts:
Fava bean has erect, stout stem that can reach 6 feet in height. Stem is bluish green and square-shaped on the cross section.
Fava bean has compound leaves (pinnate leaves) made of 2 to 7 oval-shaped leaflets with pointed tips. Leaves are bluish-grey to green colored.
Fava bean produces white flowers covered with black dots. They are arranged in clusters, in the axils of leaves. Flowers contain both types of reproductive organs (perfect flowers).
Fava bean blooms during the spring (three months after sowing). Flowers emit strong and sweet scent which attracts honeybees, main pollinators of this plant.
Fruit of fava bean is large, flattened, light green pod filled with 6 to 10 oval, broad, thick seed (beans).
Fava bean is rich source of dietary fibers, proteins, vitamins B9, B6 and B1 and minerals such as iron, copper and manganese.
Young, tender pods can be consume whole, as green beans. More commonly, large beans are extracted from leathery pods and used for the preparation of stews, soups and dishes made of lamb, poultry and seafood. Fava bean has sweet, mildly grassy flavor and starchy or creamy texture which is excellent in combination with tomato, onion and carrot. Fava bean can be also purchased in dried form or in a can.
Fresh fava beans are consumed along with tsikoudia, national alcoholic drink in Crete.
Fava bean has been found in the tombs of Egyptian rulers.
Fava bean was very popular in the ancient Greece. However, Greek philosopher Pythagoras believed that fava bean contains souls of dead people. He, and all of his followers, excluded fava bean from their diet.
Fava bean contains substances that can lower blood cholesterol level and improve digestion (facilitate emptying of the bowel).
Fava bean contains substances that can prevent development of certain types of cancer and Parkinson disease.
Consumption of fava bean can trigger favism, genetic disorder which manifests in rupture of erythrocytes (hemolytic anemia). All people diagnosed with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (type of enzyme) deficiency should avoid fava bean.
Fava bean is often cultivated as a cover crop to prevent erosion and enrich soil with nitrogen and organic nutrients.
Fava bean is perennial plant (lifespan: more than 2 years), but it is usually cultivated as annual plant (lifespan: one year).

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