Fava Bean | Bakla
Fava bean has an archeological timeline that dates back to 6000 BC. Native to the Mediterranean, the fava bean is one of the oldest cultivated plants. Throughout time, the humble legume has been both revered and despised. Some even say that Jack’s magical beanstalk sprouted from fava beans. Grown in abundance along the Nile River, the ancient Egyptians abstained from eating fava. Instead, fava were reserved as funeral offerings to the gods. Pharaoh Rameses III (reigned 1187 – 1156 BC) offered 11,998 jars of fava beans to the god of the Nile. Due to the religious usage, Herodotus (484 – 413 BC) not only prohibited consumption the beans but also restricted people from gazing upon them. Like the ancient Egyptians, the ancient Greeks viewed fava beans with fear and contempt. Although fava was sometimes used in sacrifices to the gods, Greek priests were strictly forbidden from consuming the bean or even mentioning its name. Expressing his personal disdain, Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras (571 – 497 BC) simply wrote, “Avoid fava beans.’ Despite the tumultuous beginnings, fava beans were held in high esteem by the Romans and were eventually widely cultivated throughout the Mediterranean.
Fava is commonly used to make a popular Turkish meze of pureed fava beans, dill, lemon juice and olive oil.