Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.
Today: Fava beans need to be peeled twice, but not to worry -- once you get the process down, it’s easier than learning to dance the two-step.
Shop the Story
If any type of produce is in need of a marketing campaign, it might be fava beans. It’s hard to love a legume that requires two rounds of peeling, not to mention one that’s beloved by a cannibalistic serial killer. Just the suggestion of fava beans induces grumbles of “time-consuming,” “fussy,” and “a pain in the you-know-what.”
It doesn’t have to be that way, though. It’s time to look at the glass as half full, channel your obnoxiously cheery high school lab partner, and start embracing the ritual of fava bean prep, because it’s really not that bad. It’s easy to get into the rhythm of double peeling and zone out -- and you thought you didn’t have time to meditate today!
Here’s how to prep fava beans:
The first peel: Shuck the fava beans into a bowl by any means necessary. Like to de-string beans? Try that. Hate to? Simply press your finger into the seam to pry the pod open. Or break off an end, pinch your fingers behind one bean at a time, and pop them out like a rapid-fire Nerf gun. Everyone has a favorite method, and after your first few favas you'll figure out yours. If your favas are particularly stubborn, you might have to employ all three methods.
Blanch the shelled beans in heavily salted boiling water. Just cook them for a minute or two, unless you'll be using them in a recipe that calls for a longer cooking time.
Drain the fava beans, and then dump them into an ice water bath. If you have a little mesh strainer sitting in your ice water bath, you will get extra points for being prepared, and you won't have to fish errant fava beans out of ice water.
The second peel: Use your fingers to pop them out of their waxy skins. If you're having trouble, aim for the spot near where they were attached to the pod, then use the tip of a knife or the edge of a (clean) fingernail to get the process started.