Saturday, March 28, 2009
I have been spending my Thursdays at Chloe's school taking her class out to the school garden to dig, plant, grow and harvest food. I can't tell you how much I have enjoyed doing this. So far this year we have been continually harvesting salad greens, radishes and carrots. This past week our bounty included two big bowls of fava beans that we planted back in October. First the kids picked as many beans as they could ( it was a fava bean frenzy I tell you !) and then we all gathered in a circle on the grass and passed around the bowls to see how heavy there were. We then proceeded to shuck the beans. The kids talked about how well they worked as teams to pick them, and they really loved pealing back the green flesh to find big fat fava beans inside.
This was the first time I attempted cooking in the garden, good thing I had that handy camp stove ! Before cooking the beans, there is still one more layer to remove, and most people boil them for a few minutes then transfer to ice cold water before removing the layer that gives you the yummy green bean that is eaten. Since we were running short on time, we skipped the boiling step and we sauteed them in their shells with a bit a garlic and olive oil. The heat made the bean pop out and we separated them just before eating. Everyone ate them and really liked there taste. Their are still more beans to harvest and share.
Some of what we have learned about Fava Beans:
~They are a great source of protein & they taste good.
~They are really fun to plant, but way more fun to pick !
~ They take about 4 to 5 months to actually produce the beans, first come beautiful flowers, and they are edible to.
~ Fava's are considered a cover crop, which means you can plant them to cover soil that is not being currently used for another crop and it will keep your soil productive as well as "fix nitrogen" into it. Fixing means the plant actually takes nitrogen from the air and feeds it back into the soil. It as a great plant to put in the soil that you usually grow tomato's in during the warm months.
For more detailed info you can check the Wikipedia entry here, and there is a nice article with recipes written here.
P.S. The last two images above were taken by Emil @ erb photography, I love the fava's in the air !!