Standard fare in many countries, favas normally have white flowers with distinctive black centres. Growing 4-5 feet, the thick stalks have pods that dry and darken from the ground up over a period of several weeks. Planted in early spring, fava beans will be ready to start harvesting by the end of July. Many varieties overwinter well on the coast and in the southern U.S. Yields are very high. Favas are one of the best nitrogen-fixing plants.
Plant favas a seed's width beneath the soil, about a foot apart, in rows 1-2 feet apart. Favas are a cooler-weather crop and will not thrive in heat. Harvest broad beans for fresh eating when the beans swell the green pods. (Eat beans only, not pods.) Harvest the dry beans when the pods are black.
Saving your own seed: Some crossing can occur between fava varieties, so isolate your cultivars as much as you can if purity is desirable. Or plant only one variety.
Favas contain very little oil but are high in carbohydrates and protein. Soak favas overnight, then simmer 75 minutes. One way to serve is with garlic, olive oil and lemon.