Growing and harvesting dry ceci and fava beans requires care and handling of the plant during its lengthy growing season. The sun will do the drying. Ceci beans are also know as chickpeas or garbanzo beans and are one of the prime ingredients in hummus recipes. Fava, or broad beans, are a large bean and are excellent for casseroles or stews. Both beans offer excellent nutrition and will provide both protein and fiber to your diet.
Harvest the entire ceci bean plant when the leaves begin to turn brown and wither. It takes just over three months for most ceci plants to grow to maturity in good, sunny conditions.
Place the plant on a drying screen or other flat service to dry and keep in a warm location that gets plenty of air circulation. Turn the plants occasionally to dry evenly.
Watch for the seed pods to crack while they are drying. When the pods have split, the ceci beans have dried sufficiently. To be sure, take a little bite of one of the beans. If you can't make an indentation with your teeth, they're dry enough. You can also give them an extra day on the drying rack if need be.
Store dried ceci beans in an airtight container and keep in a cool, dry location. They will keep for up to a year.
Cook dried ceci beans in a pressure cooker or stockpot until the beans become soft. Rinse, cool and freeze in a Ziploc bag, or place in the refrigerator. Beans that have been cooked will stay fresh for about a week in the refrigerator.
Keep an eye on the plant as it nears its harvest peak, usually about 85 days from when the seeds were sown. In most climates, harvest will occur in the early summer.
Remove the seed pods once they have completely blackened. The black seed pods indicate that the seeds have dried inside the pod and are ready for harvest.
Take the dried fava beans from the seed pods and store in a glass jar with a lid or other airtight container until ready to cook. Dry beans will stay fresh for up to a year when stored in a cool, dark pantry. The dried beans can be also be cooked until soft and stored in the refrigerator for one week, or frozen for future use.