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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Fava Beans - Good as Gold?

Photo: Kimi Harris
I just returned from the San Rafael Civic Center Farmer's Market thoroughly annoyed for actually paying $2.00 for a handful of fava beans - 5 pods which shelled yielded 18 beans. The price per lb should only be $2 - $3! That "farmer" is around at all the local markets and I am going to give him some feedback when I see him.

The real expense of fava beans is a factor of labor and yield.  The Mental Masala blog, written by an engineer with other interests, has a bar graph that shows the yield at each level of labor.  The final result is a 21% yield.  His conclusion about cost was that his batch of fava  beans (525 grams or 1.1lbs) cost between $9.50 - $14.25 per lb.  Now I am not an engineer, but the range is high especially since the variation between beans is low.  At least with gold, you can see the difference.

Why bother?  Personally, I became acquainted with this bean in Bolivia where the cost of labor is cheap. Once the shells have been removed, and that final step is yours, they are fun to snack on and tasty salted. Nutritionally, they offer fiber, folate, managanese .  There are 13grams of protein in one cup.

Do not serve fava beans to children for the first time without supervision.  There is a very rare and sometimes fatal disease, favism, that can occur in young boys of Mediterranean descent.




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