Fava beans (or “broad beans”) resemble very large lima beans. Fresh fava beans make a brief appearance each spring. They’re not much to look at and time-consuming to prepare, but favas are are particularly prized in Italy, where they enjoy almost a cult following. In light of their worldwide popularity, it’s a little surprising that fresh fava beans don’t enjoy a similar status in this country.
Fresh baby fava beans have a delicate yet distinctively earthy flavor, with hints of herbs and nuts. Silky-smooth in texture, they almost melt in your mouth. Baby favas need little adornment and barely any cooking. Older, more mature beans need additional cooking after peeling and are usually added to soups or stews, or cooked with garlic and olive oil for a purée.
If the thought of all that shelling, blanching and slipping of skins makes you groan, try one of our delicious fava bean recipes — we think you’ll agree that the delicious flavor of favas is worth the work!
Why choose organic?
Choose organic whenever you can to help keep the residues of conventional agricultural pesticides and fertilizers out of your food. Organic produce is grown without toxic synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, using sustainable farming methods that protect the environment and help keep pesticides out of our soil, air, water and food supply. Organic food is the healthiest choice for people and the planet — and we think it tastes better, too!
How to select and store fava beans
- Fava bean pods are thick and green, about 6-9 inches long, and lined with a velvety layer that protects the beans inside. Choose plump, shiny, bright green pods. If the stem end is still moist, the beans were probably harvested recently.
- You should be able to feel the individual beans inside the pods. The sweetest, most tender favas will have flatter pods.
- Get your fava beans young and cook them the same day, if possible. If you must store them, place the unshelled beans in an open bag and keep them in the coldest part of the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Shelled and peeled favas should be used within 2 days, or they can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Tips for using fava beans
- Fava beans require double peeling. First, the beans must be removed from their pods. Cut open one end and pull the shell apart to release the beans. Blanch the beans in boiling salted water for 30 to 60 seconds. Drain immediately, then plunge the beans into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain again when cool.
- For the second round, remove the tough outer skin from each bean by pinching open the end of the bean opposite the stem, where it attached to the pod. Squeeze to release the bright emerald beans.
- Yield varies depending on the maturity of the pods, but 4 pounds of raw fava pods generally yields 2 cups of shelled, peeled fava beans.