How to Cook and Shell Fava Beans – My First View of the Mediterranean Diet

I was about ten the first time I saw fava beans.  I was intrigued as to what they were and in awe of the fascinating girls that were eating them.

When I was growing up,  you either took a peanut butter or baloney sandwich to school for lunch.  It might be accompanied by chips or (for the healthy) an apple, but it never, ever was accompanied by fava beans.

Then a family moved into the neighborhood straight from Italy…beautiful children with soulful dark eyes, raven hair, and a lunch like no one had ever seen.

The girls would open their neat brown bags and pull out the most marvelous things…a bit of sausage…Sapressata, Mortadella, Coppa (the only sausage that I knew was pepperoni…and that was crazy exotic).  They also pulled out these long pods and would string the pods and eat the contents, right then and there, no boiling water, no cheese topping, just fresh beans from a pod.  They would follow that with an equally foreign piece of fruit… a fresh apricot.   My first view of the Mediterranean diet.

They looked at me with my peanut butter with longing and I looked back with the same.

Last week I posted a recipe that included fava beans.  I got quite a few questions regarding the preparations for this tasty bean.  I decided to  prepare a step by step post for you so that you can see exactly how these green beauties should to be prepared for your Sunday Supper.

Let’s begin to explore the world of the fava.

First, look for pods that are vibrant green and sleek, not yellow-green and shriveled…remember, big is usually not best when it comes to veggies.

It has a stem, hold the pod in one hand and pull down on the stem so that the seam along the side opens up to reveal…the shells.

Each pod will produce around five or six  fava beans in their shells…one pound in the pod equals about 1 cup of beans.

To prepare: Toss the beans in a large pot of boiling water and blanch (cook quickly) for about 30 seconds.

Immediately drain the beans and plunge them into a large bowl of icy water.

Wait a few minutes and start to peel the shell off of the bean inside (I know…it’s work, but it’s worth it).

Look at this little cutey.

Some folks say that you can skip the shelling, I tried that last week…have to say, I prefer them shelled.

Now, proceed with your recipe.

Are you looking for a recipe using fava beans?  If so, you might want to try my Summer Salad with Fava Beans, Fresh Peas and Feta using this link.





2 Responses to “How to Cook and Shell Fava Beans – My First View of the Mediterranean Diet”

  1. 1

    Carol Sacks — Monday, July 9, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

    Beautiful, Susie!

    • Susie replied: — July 9th, 2012 @ 10:50 pm

      Thank you so very much!

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