Monday, June 1, 2009


Finally, after what seems like ages. Coming in at eight pounds, nine ounces. A basket of beans from the Crimson Flowering Favas! There are actually more that I could have harvested but I left three or four of the oldest and best beans on the plants to save for seeds.

There was one brief period when the plants set pods and now that most of them have filled out I've picked them. There are a few developing pods left and even a few stalks that still have flowers. But I think that this is basically the crop.

Tonight some of them are going into a Moroccan fava puree/spread that my husband has been asking me to make for weeks. It's flavored with cumin and lemon juice, and contains a generous amount of olive oil. I'm going to serve that on little toasts with sheep's milk feta and some arugula.

Here's a recipe for the spread. It's very difficult to estimate how many pounds of pods are required since different varieties have different sized pods and the beans within vary in size depending on how mature they are.

Fresh Fava Bean Dip

1 1/2 cups shelled fava beans,
- or -
1 1/2 cups shelled and peeled beans if the beans are large
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, or more to taste
salt to taste

Blanch the beans for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and reserve a few tablespoons of the cooking liquid. Puree the beans with the olive oil, lemon juice and cumin in a food processor or blender until smooth, adding some of the cooking liquid to bring it a consistency that you like. Season to taste with salt. The puree will thicken if refrigerated. I like to serve it on toasted slices of baguette or rustic bread with some crumbled feta and chopped arugula on top. It's also good with pita bread or fresh vegetables.

Makes about 2 cups.


  1. Everything seems to be about beans lately! Looks great! What a harvest, and you waited so long too! Hope it is tasty.

  2. What a harvest! Last night I was checking out my Crimson Flowered Broad Beans (Favas to you) - the pods are just setting. Will be a few weeks before we can harvest. But tonight I'll pinch out the top shoots, blanch them and add them to a frittata with some smoked bacon (do you say ham?), red pepper and feta cheese.

    The Moroccan bean puree sounds lovely - must try that!


  3. Oooh, that Moroccan puree sounds wonderful! I'm glad your purple flowered beans brought you such a good crop in the end. They look wonderful. Will you freeze some of them?

  4. They look great! Do broad beans always come all at once? I've never grown them before, but I hope ours spread themselves out a bit as our freezer is extremely small!

  5. Prue, the beans were tasty in the puree last night. My honey was very happy!

    Celia, Your way of preparing the tops sounds delicious. I experimented with them for the first time this season and love them. I'm not sure if bacon is the same here, but probably pretty similar.

    Chaiselongue, I think I will have to freeze some of them - we can only eat just so much at one time. I didn't peel the beans this time around and my husband hardly noticed, just a bit of difference in the texture of the puree. That sure saved a lot of work! I think the small seeded favas have a more tender skin than the large seeded ones.

    Jan, the Italian favas (or maybe they were Spanish) that I've grown before would come in over a period of weeks. This is the first time I've grown the crimson flowered ones so I'm not sure that it's normal for them to produce over such a short period of time. The crimson flowered ones are small seeded and the varieties that I've grow before are large seeded. So, perhaps the large seeded varieties are better suited to my climate? And, my climate is more like that in Spain and Italy than the UK. I'm going to try again next year and see what happens.

  6. Love the sound of the Moroccan fava puree/spread, sounds delicious! Love the pic of your beans, I hope we get a nice load like that although somehow I think it's unlikely...we have a lot to learn!

  7. I like about one meal that has favas in it -- then it's all about soil building for me. Maybe I'll grow them for Denise.

    Yours are beautiful, and the recipe(s) sound pretty tempting.

  8. Frances, gardening seems like a never ending learning process. I nearly had total failure with the favas last year and I've been gardening for years. I hope you have lots of beginners luck with your beans.

    Stefaneener, I love to eat the beans too much to cut them down before I've picked as many beans as possible. The plants eventually end up in the compost, which ends up in the soil, so that's good.

  9. Nice fava bean haul! Also, I gave you an award; it's on my blog:


  10. Do you have a recipe for this, or do just wing it? I typically wing it, so I can probably make it work if I try it, but a recipe would be better! Thanks! Janet

  11. Hi Janet, thanks for dropping by and commenting. I've updated the post to include the recipe.

  12. Thanks, I should have enough beans to harvest and will let you know how it turns out! Janet

  13. I've been looking for a source for Petaluma Gold Rush bean seeds for several years, since reading William Woys Weaver's book about 100 Vegetables. You appear to be growing this variety. May I ask where you found the seeds?
    Thank you.

  14. David, My original seeds for that variety actually came from William Woys Weaver a few years ago when he offered seeds through the Seed Savers Exchange. Alas, he no longer offers seeds through the exchange and I don't know of any other source. I'm trying to grow out the last of my beans this year but I'm not sure how successful I will be. The Slow Food website mentioned that the Seed Savers Exchange might be offering them in their 2010 catalog, so I would check with either of them.

  15. Thank you for your reply. We checked this last week with SSE and they knew nothing about the Petaluma Gold Rush Bean going into production for distribution in 2010. If you come by any source and you are interested in seeing these beans more widely available, please let me know as we have the capability to produce the seeds on a reasonably large scale and would like to do so.


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