Table of content A-Z

 

broad bean

 

Synonym: fava bean

botanical name: Vicia faba ssp. faba var. major


Ackerbohne

 

Introduction

 

Botanically speaking, the broad bean is not a bean but a vetch. For this reason it is differentiated from the French, or green, bean (Phaseolus vulgaris).

 

 

Availability

 

In Germany, broad beans are harvested from June to September. Imports from the Mediterranean countries are available from January on. Moreover, frozen broad beans can be bought all year round.

 

Appearance, taste, characteristics

 

The seeds of the small broad bean (Vicia faba var. minor) are rounded and 5.5-13 mm long. As they are used chiefly as fodder, they are also known as horse beans.

The large broad bean (Vicia faba var. major) produces seeds 15-20 mm long and wide and 5-8 mm thick.

 

Only the seeds of the broad bean are eaten; they lie in elongated, thick, fleshy pods. According to the variety, the seeds may be white, green, brown, or even red or purple-black. The broad bean is oblong-ovoid and rounded.

 

Broad beans are very aromatic, slightly bitter, and taste a bit like nuts.

 

Varieties with black and white blossoms take on a brownish colour when they are cooked and have the characteristic flavor of the broad bean. Varieties with white blossoms retain their white or green colour but lack the typical flavor.

 

Well-known varieties are the green-cooking 'hangdown' and the brown-cooking 'early white seeded', or Witkiem.

 

Ingredients

 

Broad beans are distinguished by a high content of valuable protein. They are also rich in fiber. 100 g contain:

 

Broad beans, fresh

Broad beans, cooked

Broad beans, tinned

Energy (kcal)

84

99

72

Water (g)

76

62

78

Protein (g)

7

11

7

Fat (g)

<1

<1

<1

Carbohydrates (g)

13

12

10

Fiber (g)

3

3

3

Vitamin A (µg)

22

12

18

Niacin (mg)

2.7

2.3

1.8

Folic acid (µg)

44

18

10

Vitamin C (mg)

33

<1

9

Potassium (mg)

360

386

209

Sodium (mg)

27

4

247

Calcium (mg)

25

42

27

Phosphorous (mg)

95

179

81

Magnesium (mg)

38

76

29

Iron (mg)

2.0

2.2

1.4

 

 

Quality criteria, optimal storage conditions

 

Broad beans are usually harvested when they are still young and not ripe. They should not be picked too late, because the younger and smaller the seeds are, they better and more tender they taste. The pods should look fresh and green; the seeds should be soft and juicy.

 

Be sure that the pods have no dark spots. Puffy pods from which the cottony inside has almost disappeared are also a sign of poor quality.

 

In contrast to French beans, broad beans tolerate temperatures as cold as 1°C well. In the refrigerator they will keep for several days in the pod. Shelled seeds, however, should be used on the same day.

 

Form of consumption, use, processing, practical tips for preparation

 

In Germany broad beans are eaten almost exclusively as a fresh vegetable, not dried like a pulse.

It is recommended that broad beans be eaten only cooked. In contrast to the French bean, they contain no phasine, but many people have an allergic reaction to the raw beans. In Italy, however, it is traditional to eat the first broad beans raw with a piece of bread and olive oil.

 

Normally, the seeds are removed from the pods, washed, and cooked in broth or salted water. The amount of raw beans you buy should be 3-4 times the amount you want to cook, because there is a great deal of waste when they are shelled.

 

There are many ways to prepare broad beans. Hearty dishes of broad beans with pork, bacon or fried sausage are popular and well-known in North Rhine-Westphalia, but they can also be used in soups or salads or baked in the oven. Puréed soft-cooked beans are especially well-liked.

 

The food industry processes broad beans in tins or as a frozen vegetable.

 

Seasoning tip

 

Savory, lovage, and thyme are good to enhance the flavor of broad beans.

 

Miscellaneous

 

Before the potato was known in Europe, broad beans were one of the most important staple foods. The dried seeds are classified with the pulses, but it is not common to use them in this form, as they are not so tasty when dried. Earlier, bean bread was even made from the flour of dried broad beans.

 

 

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