Fava beans were a popular crop in Medieval Europe. Used as fresh shelling beans, dry beans, and as a source of fresh greens. The favas of the past, had only two small beans per pod, each bean being about the size of a thumbnail. Nowadays favas come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, some with huge pods containing seven or eight massive flat beans, others with even tinier beans than our medieval ancestors knew.

These days, it seems like fava beans are more popular as a green manure cover crop than as a food sources. Grown until they flower, then tilled under, these beans add nitrogen to the soil as well as improving the overall organic matter. These are usually tiny beans, about the same size as a pea. I have often wondered if they are breed to be that size so that they fit in the seed drills and make for easier mechanical sewing? Or maybe it's just a coincidence.


http://permies.com/t/46317/plants/Fava-Beans-beans