Read “fava beans” and you’re already thinking about the brightest days of spring. Each green kernel a prize following the labor-intensive process of shelling and de-husking one by one. However, dried fava beans are a different story. All the finicky preparation has been done! You can essentially dump the bag into a pot of broth and they’ll be ready in 30 minutes. With a richer, nuttier flavor than their fresh siblings, dried fava beans are a delicious and nourishing 4-seasons treat. Since Bio Alberti Fava di Amelia come fully decorticated, they don’t even need any soaking time.
An Heirloom Seed
Bio Alberti’s dried fava beans are an heirloom variety, nothing like the sterile hybrids of multinational corporations. A few years ago, Sig. Gianangeli, a farmer from neighboring Amelia, gave Paola Alberti a handful of Fava di Amelia seeds to help with crop rotation on the Bio Alberti Farm. It turns out, the fava plants themselves are an excellent ally in organic agriculture. They help enrich heavy, clayey soil with nitrogen, revitalizing the land for the next round of cereals or other crops.
Of course, fava beans are good for more than just the soil. They’re an excellent source of protein, iron, phosphorus, potassium and fiber. All of Bio Alberti fava descend from that original gift from Sig. Gianangeli in Amelia: they are a local seed that reproduce on its own. The Albertis plant the fava in October then harvest them in June. The bean pods dry on the plants themselves, naturally in the sun. Once shelled, the dried fava beans have a yellowish-orange tinge to them.
How to Prepare Dried Fava Beans
Macco di Fava, or fava bean purée, is probably the most famous fava bean recipe in Italy. Originating in Sicily centuries ago, these days countless versions exists all across the Mediterranean basin. Serve Macco di Fava alongside leafy greens with a crusty hunk of bread and a generous pool of extra virgin olive oil. We first tried it at the Bio Alberti headquarters in Poggio Aquilone, where Chef Salvatore Denaro served his Macco sprinkled with fennel pollen!