A member of the legume family, broad beans are pretty hardy and adaptable - they grow in most soils and climates. They're a great source of protein and carbohydrates, as well as vitamins A, B1 and B2. In the US, they're known as fava beans.
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Fresh broad beans are sweet and delicious pod beans with a smooth creamy texture. They only have a short natural season during the summer, so are often dried, canned or frozen to preserve them. Fresh beans are more popular than the dried variety, which tend to be quite floury. Young thin beans are eaten pods and all, but larger, older broad beans need to have the tough pods removed. Broad beans are also called fava beans, particularly in the US.