Lathyrus clymenum is a flowering plant in the Fabaceae family, native to the Mediterranean. The seeds are used to prepare a Greek dish called fava santorinis. The plant is cultivated on the island of Santorini in Greece and was recently added to the European Union's products with a Protected Designation of Origin.
For 3,500 years residents of Santorini and neighbouring islands have been cultivating the legume species Lathyrus clymenum, known elsewhere only as a wild plant. The peculiar ecosystem that was created by the volcanic explosions on Santorini island, the volcanic ash, the cellular soil, and the combination of humidity created by the sea and the drought, make the bean a unique resource. When weather conditions are good farmers on the island can reap about 800 kilos of beans per hectares. A vulnerable crop, it can be destroyed by strong winds that blow away its flowers before they can yield the pea, by drought or by a sudden heat wave almost instantly. Its production is thus limited making it an expensive crop that costs €700 per acre. The cost for consumers is about €9-10 per kilo.
The fava is put into cold water for about two hours. Mixed with chopped onion into a pot with enough water until they boil, the fava is then skimmed until it becomes porridge. Then using a mixer, it is made into jelly. It is salted and boiled a little bit again and typically served with chopped onion, olive oil and lemon juice.
- Anaya Sarpaki, Glynis Jones, "Ancient and Modern Cultivation of Lathyrus clymenum L. in the Greek Islands" in Annual of the British School at Athens vol. 85 (1990) pp. 363-368 JSTOR
- Georgiopoulou, Tania. "Demand for Santorini fava outstrips supply". www.ekathimerini.com.
- "Συνταγή για Φάβα". http://www.santoriniinfo.gr.
- "Fava Santorinis". http://kopiaste.org.