The field bean, also known under numerous other synonyms, is mainly used as a protein carrier in animal feed.

In Germany, the field bean for human nutrition, whose precursors in the Near East have been known for at least 8, 000 years, plays a regionally very different role. There is some evidence that, in the future - as in the Middle Ages - the bean could once again experience a renaissance as an important source of protein for human nutrition.

You should know that about the field bean

There is some evidence that, in the future - as in the Middle Ages - the bean could once again experience a renaissance as an important source of protein for human nutrition.

The origins of the annual, herbaceous, field bean (Vicia faba), which is also known by numerous synonymous names such as broad beans, broad bean, broad bean and some others, go at least until the 5th millennium BC. Back as archaeological finds in Israel, near Nazareth prove.

The wild form, on whose further breeding the cultivated field bean goes back, is not exactly known. The bean belongs to the legume family (Fabaceae or Leguminosae). In the Near East, the field bean reached in a smaller form than today from the 3rd millennium BC. Chr. Obviously widespread. From the Middle Ages to the 17th century, the field bean in Central Europe, as one of the staple foods, played an important role in providing the population with important proteins and essential amino acids.

From the end of the 17th century, the field bean in Central Europe was supplanted from the diet more and more by the originally native from Central and South America potato, so that their use as cattle feed or as so-called green manure came to the fore again. The field bean has a high water requirement during the growth phase and can already be sown in February at a soil temperature of 2 to 3 degrees due to their relative frost resistance. In regions with mild winters, it is possible to fall back on perennial varieties and to sow seeds as winter fruit in late autumn. To achieve a better and deeper rooting, the seed beans are set 10 to 15 inches deep into the ground.

The harvest season starts in June. The main harvesting season for fresh field beans is from June to August. However, out of season no one needs to give up fresh beans, because they are also offered in the natural state as frozen food. An alternative to frozen food is dried fava beans, which are also available throughout the year in the food trade. However, they must be soaked overnight before consumption.

The main reasons for a possible renaissance of the field bean for human nutrition are its high content of proteins with valuable amino acids, their content of minerals and some B-vitamins such as pantothenic acid and niacin. In addition, the field bean is interesting not only for its health aspects, but it is also appreciated for its pleasant and distinctive taste.

Importance for the health

The health aspects of field bean, which are based on their ingredients, are complex. Not only the isolated effect of individual components plays a role, but the overall effect resulting from the synergetic interaction of all components.

For example, field beans with a nutritive and calorific value of 88 kilocalories per 100 grams achieve quite a substantial value, based mainly on the content of carbohydrates of about 45 to 60 grams. Nevertheless, the consumption of beans in terms of weight gain is completely safe because they also provide a high level of fiber, which ensure that the carbohydrates are available only gradually during the digestive process. The carbohydrates processed by the body with a very low glycemic value trickle into the blood, so to speak, and thus ensure a lasting satiety.

In contrast, after eating sugar, glucose literally shoots into the bloodstream with all the consequences of insulin and lipid metabolism and a quick onset of hunger. The health-promoting aspects also refer to the contained proteins, which contain valuable and partially essential amino acids. In addition, field beans - as well as other legumes - provide oxidative protection that contributes to preventive protection against certain cancers. In the intestine, it is mainly the dietary fibers that contribute to the reduction of the colorectal cancer risk in interaction with fermenting bacteria.

Ingredients & Nutrition Facts

nutritional informationQuantity per 100 grams
Calories 88Fat content 0.7 g
Cholesterol 0 mgSodium 25 mg
Potassium 332 mgCarbohydrates 18 g
Protein 8 gFiber 8 g

Field beans have a considerable portfolio of health-related primary and secondary ingredients. Its relatively high nutritional value of 88 kilocalories per 100 grams is coupled with a low glycemic index, which ensures that prolonged satiety after arable beans is more likely to help with weight loss than weight gain.

Particularly striking is the high protein content of up to 30 grams per 100 grams. The proteins provide important amino acids and peptides for a variety of metabolic processes. They are full-fledged proteins with the exception of sulfur-containing amino acids such as methionine and cysteine, which does not provide field beans. Also as a mineral supplier, field beans provide a well-filled arsenal with high levels of potassium, calcium and magnesium. Vitamins are especially vitamin A, some B vitamins and vitamin E available, which are absorbed and consumed by the body after consumption. Only vitamin C is present in field beans only in non-relevant concentration.

Incompatibilities & allergies

In Central Europe, about one percent of the population suffers from a hereditary deficiency of G6PD (glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase), which is caused by a gene mutation at a locus of the X chromosome. It is an enzyme that intervenes in the sugar metabolism and whose deficiency, after eating the field bean or inhaling the pollen, can lead to hemolysis, that is to say, destruction of the red blood cells.

The symptoms of the disease, which is called favism, however, occur when eating cooked broad beans - which should be the normal case - only very rarely. The carbohydrates present in field beans in the form of starch are gluten-free, so that people who suffer from gluten intolerance, can enjoy field beans without problems.

Shopping & Kitchen Tips

When buying fresh fava beans, it should be noted that they should only be kept in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. Outside the harvest season, frozen or dried field beans offer an alternative.

To be sure to purchase an uncontaminated food, various organic qualities are found in the trade. To prepare a dish for gourmets, the fresh field beans can also be blanched for one to two minutes in boiling salted water and then quenched in ice water to dissolve the inner pips out of the skin and processed as a delicacy. The same procedure is also recommended before preparing deep-frozen beans.

preparation tips

After preparation of the fresh field beans, as described above, the cores need only a short cooking time of a few minutes to serve after seasoning with savory or parsley as an excellent side dish for various fish and meat dishes. Even hearty stews can be prepared with field beans and other ingredients very well and tasty. An Italian specialty is a kind of bean and tomato with sheep's cheese. Tags: 

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