If there's one thing I love, it's discovering that people have different names for things. Apparently 'rocket' is 'arugula' in Americanish. I had no idea what they were all talking about until I just simply had to know and asked Google. Same with swedes. I was having a chat with someone in the States who had no idea what I was talking about, until we realised he knows them as rutabaga. And so it is with broad beans, commonly called fava beans, it seems. More googling. 'Fava' is derived from the Latin 'faba' which made it's way into Spanish - and that just means 'bean'. Fava beans thus just means 'bean bean' so really, Australian/English 'broad bean' is probably more accurate as it's almost like saying 'broad fava' because there are lots of different types of fava bean, but the big fat wide edible yummy ones are 'broad beans'.
It's been rotten weather here for days. Fires rage across NSW. Last week it was snowing in Tassie, according to reports from my best friend down there, who last week had sent me a video of a fire smoking in the distance. We're swinging wildly from broad bean wilting heat, to broad been toppling weather. As they dominant my garden landscape, I can tell the weather just by the look of the poor old beans. Les Murray describes them beautifully in his poem 'The Broad Bean Sermon' - I think I share this beautiful poem every year!
Full of vitamin C, pottasium and iron, broad beans were part of people's staple diet right up until around the Middle Ages, until the potato took over. Probably good news - not everyone likes them. I can't give them away, and my husband loathes them. Interesting, they are responsible for a condition called 'favism', a genetic condition caused by a deficiency of the enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase'. This is an error of metabolism that predisposes to red blood cell breakdown and can cause dark urine, fatigue, shortness of breath, and a rapid heart rate1. Whilst most people recover quite quickly, favism favours
'acute hemolytic anemia. After susceptible subjects eat the beans, symptoms can occur in 5–24 h. The symptoms include headache, vomiting, nausea, yawning, stomach pains, and a raised temperature. The symptoms may subside naturally or, in severe cases, lead to hemolytic anemia, followed by hemoglobinuria.'
Carriers don't show symptoms unless they encounter certain environmental triggers such as stress, including aspirin, quinine, napthalene and viral infections.2. It's much more common amongst people of Meditarranean origins, but if you're starting to get worried, maybe you want to check to see if you're in one of the groups that might not want to go near fava beans, or at least do a bit of research to see if you have anything to worry about at all, which is beyond the scope of this post.
Given I'd never had such a reaction to broad beans, nor known anyone that had, I set to work on broad bean dip, which I've been eating on toast all weekend. A broad bean hummous, really, lemony and garlicky, with just a hint of tahini. I added kale and lime salt to mine - recipe here - and, dividing the mixture into two, blended some with jalapenos for a feisty kick. I love the stuff - I grow broad beans solely for this reason.
Broad Bean Hummous
Three to five handfuls of broad beans
1 - 2 cloves garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
A liberal pinch of kale and thyme salt, and more to garnish (ordinary salt will do)
1 tbsp tahini, optional
2 - 3 Jalapenos, optional
Lightly steam the broad beans - they should be soft but not soggy. Blend with the rest of the ingredients. Eat by the spoonful.
Do you know them as fava or broad beans?
What's your favourite way to cook them?
I love to get a post together for @lenasveganliving's #fruitsandveggiesmonday tag, because I love checking in with what creative meat free vegetable laden recipes people have been coming up with! Anyonecan enter - please do! Use the tag alongside #vegan and #naturalmedicine for the chance to be awarded in LOTUS token and to be featured on www.naturalmedicine.io alongside other yummy vegan recipes!