Extra Helpings: Fava Beans


Stephanie asks: I know I have to take fresh fava beans out of the big pod… but do I have to remove the next covering as well? This is really time-consuming, not to mention neck-aching!


Fava beans are a good reason for having a lot of kids, Stephanie. You give them the tedious task of shelling and skinning the fava beans.

Fava beans (also known as broad beans, field beans, horse beans, fouls and fuls), are large flat beans that are also popular in Mexican, Asian and Mediterranean cuisines. They’re packed with vitamin C, vitamin A and potassium and are a great source of protein, fiber and folate.

OK… end of horticulture lesson.

Fresh fava beans are found in markets from April through July, depending on where you live (and if the weather has been kind). Look for beans with pods that aren’t bulging (that means the bean is older and tougher).

To shell and skin the fava beans, first remove them from their pods. Drop the shelled beans into a pot of boiling salted water for 3 to 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and immediately pour the beans into a bowl of ice-cold water to rest for 1 to 2 minutes.

This is where you’ll want a lot of helpful hands: Remove the beans from the ice water and divide evenly into smaller bowls. Have a big bowl in the middle for the finished beans. Slip the skins off by pinching the “eye” of the skin and squeezing gently. Place the shelled beans into the big bowl.

Once you remove them from the pod and slip them out of their protective coats, you’ll find a brilliantly green bean with a bright, grassy flavor that is distinctively pungent. By removing the skin, you’ll cut down on the cooking time.

Tomorrow, Mama will tell you about a fava bean dish that’s perfect for the summer…



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  1. Pingback: Mama's High Strung™ » Blog Archive » Plated + Served: Pasta with Fresh Fava Beans, Peas and Lemon-Chive Vinaigrette

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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: mamashighstrung@gmail.com