How to shell fava beans (with photos)
Photo Credit: Kimi Harris
In the heat of last week, I found myself shelling fava beans. Once done, I found that I loved their taste. They are sweet like peas, but more meaty in flavor. While they are a bit of work to shell, they only come once a year, and are worth the effort.
Like all beans, they are a good source of protein and certain vitamins and minerals. They are likely one of the very first beans humans cultivated too! They have a long history on our table. Find them at farmers markets and some grocery stores (especially stores that cater to the organic crowd). Once you have them, here is how to shell them.
Before you start shelling the fava beans, get a large pot of water on the stove. You will be bringing this to a boil while you shell.
Let's start then. Grab the stem end and snap it off, leaving the thin, thread-y piece of bean (the "string") in place that connects to the middle of the fava bean.
Next, pull that "string" of fava bean right down the middle of the bean, removing it and opening up the pod at the same time.
Remove all of the beans inside. Repeat until you have finished all of the fava beans.
Once the water is boiling, salt it well. (Think as salty as the ocean.) Add all of the fava beans to the pot, and simmer for 1 minute. While simmering fill a large bowl with cold water and a handful or two if ice cubes.
Drain (or remove with a "spider" spoon). Place immediately into a bowl of cold water.
Once completely cooled, you get to shell them yet again. There is a thin shell on the fava beans that is easily removed once blanched. I found that my one batch with super fresh fava beans were easier to peel then my second batch of older beans.
Once peeled, they are ready to be put into a wide variety of recipes. Try one! They are delicious.