Broad bean, also known as the vicia faba, fava bean, faba bean, field bean, bell bean, or tic bean, is a species of bean (Fabaceae) native to North Africa, southwest and south Asia, and extensively cultivated elsewhere.
Broad beans are eaten while still young and tender, enabling harvesting to begin as early as the middle of spring for plants started under glass or overwintered in a protected location, but even the main crop sown in early spring will be ready from mid to late summer. Horse beans, left to mature fully, are usually harvested in the late autumn. The young leaves of the plant can also be eaten either raw or cooked like spinach.
Broad beans were a major food of old Mediterranean civilizations, particularly for the Romans and Ancient Greeks.
Preparing favas involves first removing the beans from their pods, then parboiling the beans to loosen their exterior coating, and removing that before cooking. The beans can be fried, causing the skin to split open, and then salted and/or spiced to produce a savory, crunchy snack. These are popular in China, Malaysia, Colombia, Peru (habas saladas), Guatemala (habas), Mexico (habas con chile), Gilan (North of Iran) and Thailand (where their name means “open-mouth nut”). Broad bean purée with wild chicory is a typical Puglian dish in Italy.