People living in Galilee love their hummus - it's such a filling and delicious snack. And it turns out, the fava bean has been a popular ingredient since ancient times, helping to feed many and reduce the risk of famine. Recently, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) discovered one of the oldest domesticated fava beans and the writers at The Times of Israel tell us about the history and importance of this delicious bean:
Researchers at the Weizmann Institute and the Israel Antiquities Authority recently discovered the oldest known domesticated fava beans — about 10,200 years old — in the Galilee, pointing to a Neolithic diet rich in protein-rich legumes...
Fava beans remain a major element in cuisines worldwide, the Middle East no exception. Study authors Valentina Caracuta, Omry Barzilai, Hamudi Khalaily, Ianir Milevski, Yitzhak Paz, Jacob Vardi, Lior Regev, and Elisabetta Boaretto point out that the humble fava bean is “the third most important feed grain legume after soybean and pea.”
“Identifying the first places where the domestication of species of plants, which today constitute an indivisible part of our diet, is of great importance for research,” the IAA quoted the researchers saying in a Hebrew statement. “ Despite the dietary importance of grains to this day, apparently in the area we investigated — west of the Jordan River — they actually first domesticated legumes, which are right in flavor and protein.”
“Today it’s clear that the area of the modern Galilee was the principle producer of legumes in the prehistoric era,” they said.