How to Shell, Cook, and Peel Fresh Fava Beans

Learn to shell, cook, and peel fresh fava beans with this easy step-by-step guide.  I will share with you everything you need to know regarding how to grow, prepare fresh fava beans, and use them in recipes. They may seem intimidating but once you know how to cook with fresh fava beans, you will be happy to have them often.

I will be honest, there are a few steps. Cooking with fresh fava beans is not going to win you any quick 10-minute meal awards but the time you spend is worth it. It will feel labor-intensive the first few times you do this. I suggest doing this with your family members or switch on the TV to watch something fun while you get snapping and peeling.  Check out a fun post of my 5 favorite shows to watch while I am cooking –   HERE

 

 

How to Shell, Cook, & Peel Fresh Fava Beans PIN
How to Shell, Cook, & Peel Fresh Fava Beans PIN

 

How to Grow Your Own Fava Beans?

We grow our own fava beans each year.  If you have a vegetable garden, planting fava beans is one of the best ways to replenish the nitrogen in your soil.  This is why each fall, we drop some dried fava bean seeds into the soil, cover it up, water, and let them do their magic.  Not exactly Jack’s magic beanstalk but sure feels like it.

They are easy to grow and since our winters get enough rain most years here in Northern California, we do not have to water them much.  We plant shortly after Halloween each year, when we harvest the pumpkins Landon so lovely grows each year.   We take about a dozen pods each year, pop out the seeds, and do not eat them. Instead, we dry the fava beans by just letting them sit out in an old pie pan in our backyard shed. Then by March we typically have a ton of fava beans dried up that we use as seeds to grow more.

You can order fava beans from JOHNNYSEEDS to get started growing fava beans for the first year. Then after that save fava beans to dry, to keep growing year after year by planting the fava beans.

 

Fresh Fava Beans on their stalks
Fresh Fava Beans plants – pods growing on the tall stalks

 

What is a Fava Bean?

Fava beans are also known as broad beans, faba beans, and Vicia faba.  My father-in-law refers to fava beans also as horse beans. We grow our own and they are at peak harvest time in spring, typically from March through May. They can be found dried as well, but fresh fava beans for me have a far superior flavor.  Favas are similar in size and shape to lima bean but do not taste the same. Once cooked, limas are soft and a bit mushy.  However, favas are typically blanched so they are still a bit crisp and hold up better in recipes.

Can you eat fresh fava beans raw?

Yes, you can eat fresh fava beans raw.  When they are small in their pods, they are still young enough to be eaten raw.  The peels on the inner bean are not mature or as thick when they are still small.  My husband and my youngest son both love to snap pods off the stalks, pop a few beans out, and eat them fresh from the garden.   I have to remind them to let some grow so the rest of us can enjoy some too later.

Fresh fava beans
Fresh fava beans

 

How To Shell, Cook, and Peel Fava Beans?

The process is quite easy but does take a bit of time.  I would say the whole process takes about 30-45 minutes, depending on how many fava beans you are aiming to have in the end.  The process I outline below resulted in about 1.5 cups and took about 45 minutes. Over many years I have perfected this process to cook fresh fava/broad beans.

 

How to Shell Fava Beans

For each pod, grab the stem end and snap the end back.  This should expose the end and help the pod start to split down the seem. You may need to pull a bit on the seem to expose the beans within the pods. Remove all the beans and dispose of the empty pods.

 

 

shelling fava beans
Shelling fava beans

 

 

How to Cook Fresh Fava Beans

Start a kettle on the stove to boil water. If you do not have a kettle, heat water in a pot or in the microwave in a microwave-safe container. You want the water to be boiling hot.   Once the water is ready it is time to pour it over the fava beans.

 

hot water is ready

 

Place shelled fave beans in any heat-safe container. Make sure the container is large enough to submerge the beans in boiling hot water and have them at least covered by at least 4 oz of additional water.

Some may float, I discard those – they tend to not cook, are bitter,  and are yellow once I peel them. Cover the container and let them “cook” for 20 minutes. It depends on the size of your beans.

 

Add hot water to shelled fava beans
Add hot water to shelled fava beans

 

 

Next, drain the hot water from the fava beans.   Fill a large bowl with ice cubes and some cold water.  Now shock the fava beans so they stop cooking by plunging them into the ice water bath.   Let them sit in the cold water for about 5 minutes.  The skins should start to wrinkle a bit as they start to shrivel. This will allow them to peel easily.

Plunge cooked favas into ice water bath
Plunge cooked favas into an ice water bath

 

 

How to Peel Fava Beans

You can either drain the beans from the cold water or work from the ice bath.  I do not mind the cold and find that peeling the beans straight from the water helps keep them cool and my hands a bit cleaner as I do the final step.

To peel using your fingernails poke gently as the white outer skin.  Once you have exposed the bright green inner bean, the peels should slide right off.

 

Peel skin off each fava bean
Peel skin off each fava bean

 

I typically have several bowls in the rotation.  There is the main bowl with the freshly cooked favas, a bowl of the skins that have been peeled off, and the final bowl with the gorgeous bright green fresh fava beans.

All stages of fava beans - pods, beans with shell, peeled fava beans, and fava skins
All stages of fava beans – pods, beans with shell, peeled fava beans, and fava skins

 

 

Ways to Prepare and Recipes for Fava Beans

Fava beans once cooked make a great snack just as is with a little bit of salt.  But there are also many ways to enjoy fava beans in some great recipes.  Fava beans are ideal for adding protein, iron, and fiber to your diet as a vegetarian option.

Here are some simple ways to enjoy fava beans:

  • Added to pasta with your favorite sauce
  • As a salad with fresh tomatoes, herbs, and olive oil & vinegar
  • Sauteed in olive oil with fresh garlic
  • Served with fresh seafood and your favorite sauce
  • Enjoy with a “nice Chianti” – sorry had to say it & you know you were thinking it!
  • Rice salad is one of my favorite spring light lunches

Rice and Fava Bean Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

 

 

PIN FOR SAFEKEEPING & SHARING!

 

How to Shell, Cook, & Peel Fresh Fava Beans PIN
How to Shell, Cook, & Peel Fresh Fava Beans PIN

 

 

Product Recommendations for this Article:

The Short Order Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.  If you click on a link and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission on the sale at no additional cost to you. This helps with the costs of running the blog. Thank you! 

 

How to Shell, Cook, and Peel Fresh Fava Beans

Learn to shell, cook, and peel fresh fava beans with this easy step-by-step guide.  I will share with you everything you need to know regarding how to grow, prepare fresh fava beans, and use them in recipes. They may seem intimidating but once you know how to cook with fresh fava beans, you will be happy to have them often.
Prep Time30 mins
Active Time15 mins
Total Time45 mins
Author: Angela

Materials

  • fresh fava beans in the pod
  • hot water
  • ice cubes

Instructions

  • For each pod, grab the stem end and snap the end back.  This should expose the end and help the pod start to split down the seem. You may need to pull a bit on the seem to expose the beans within the pods. Remove all the beans and dispose of the empty pods.
  • Start a kettle on the stove to boil water. If you do not have a kettle, heat water in a pot or in the microwave in a microwave-safe container. You want the water to be boiling hot.   Once the water is ready it is time to pour it over the fava beans.
    Place shelled fave beans in any heat-safe container. Make sure the container is large enough to submerge the beans in boiling hot water and have them at least covered by at least 4 oz of additional water.
  • Next, drain the hot water from the fava beans.   Fill a large bowl with ice cubes and some cold water.  Now shock the fava beans so they stop cooking by plunging them into the ice water bath.   Let them sit in the cold water for about 5 minutes.  The skins should start to wrinkle a bit as they start to shrivel. This will allow them to peel easily.
  • To peel using your fingernails poke gently as the white outer skin.  Once you have exposed the bright green inner bean, the peels should slide right off.
  • Store cooked fresh fava beans in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

 

 


Related Posts

How to Make Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Wings (Secret Step Included)

How to Make Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Wings (Secret Step Included)

Instant Pot chicken wings are a one in a million recipe. That is there are about a million recipes out on the internet for these spicy little numbers.  I won’t convince you that mine is completely different than the rest but I have a secret […]

How To Make Quick Pickled Vegetables – Kids in the Kitchen

How To Make Quick Pickled Vegetables – Kids in the Kitchen

These cool and sour refrigerate quick pickles are so easy to make and are a kid favorite in our house.  We are a fan of acidic and briny foods in our house.  This simple quick refrigerator pickle recipe uses a fast but basic pickling method […]



22 thoughts on “How to Shell, Cook, and Peel Fresh Fava Beans”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating