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Fava bean pods are thick with a cottony interior encapsulating 2 to 7 large lemon lime-colored beans. While the fava pods are considered inedible, the beans are tender, with a sweet, mild grassy flavor reflective of spring. The beans are similar in shape to a lima bean, plump and curvaceous. The bean's skin is thick and their texture can range from starchy to creamy depending on how young they are and how they are prepared. The young gray-green leaves, shoots, tendrils and white and black flowers of the fava plant are all edible with lean bright grassy flavors.
Fava beans are available year-round with a peak season in spring.
Fava beans, botanical name Vicia faba, are also know as broad beans, field beans and Windsor beans. They are a hardy perennial grown as an annual and often used during crop rotation and specifically utilized as ground cover to preserve the soil and reduce weed growth. The crops are then turned into the soil to invigorate the soil with nitrogen and organic nutrients. In fact, most fava plants are grown as a cover crop far more often than a food crop as it requires a relatively large area to produce modest harvests.