How to Prepare Fava Beans
Fava beans, also known as broad beans or faba beans, are an old world legume which has been grown and eaten for over 8000 years.
They are eaten in many parts of the world and are usually enjoyed in the spring, with other spring vegetables like asparagus and artichokes.
The pods are thick and hold several beans that are encased in a second pod or skin. In order to eat them fresh, the young pods can be cooked and eaten whole, or the mature pods must be shucked, then each individual bean shucked in turn. Although this is a somewhat tedious and time consuming task, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful bright green beans that taste wonderful.
The beans can also be dried, and used in delicious dishes like the Egyptian ful medames, a dish of stewed favas.
Follow this guide to prepare your own spring time fava beans so you can use them in recipes along with other spring vegetables.
- Fava beans in their pods
Start with mature bean pods, with obvious bulges where the fully grown beans are.
Break open the pods and pull out the beans inside.
You can discard the pods once you’ve shucked out all of the beans.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the beans for 1 minute.
Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water to stop them from cooking. Rinse until the beans feel cool to the touch.
Blanching them like this will allow you to pop them out of their skins easily and also will give the a beautiful emerald hue like in the top picture.
To shuck the beans out of their skins, take one in your fingers and pierce the skin with your fingernail. Squeeze the bean and the inner bean should pop right out of the skin. If you want to keep the beans intact and not have them fall in half, do this very gently. I don’t mind if mine fall apart.
I used a three bowl method to keep things neat and tidy: 1 bowl for the unshucked beans, one for the shucked beans, and one for the skins.
That’s it, the favas are now ready to be eaten as is, or cooked in your favourite recipe.
For a simple approach, try drizzling the blanched and shucked favas with olive oil and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
Or you could make this Sichuan-style fava bean stir fry!