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Fava Beans - Does the inner covering need to be removed?

  • p

I just bought fava beans for the first time. I looked at the recipes posted previously and I'm anxious to get started! I have a possibly silly question. Does the inner "skin" need to be removed before sauteing, tossing with a salad, etc? I thought I remembered reading something at one time that recommended this but I could be mistaken. If so, how would you recommend I do this? Blanch them and then peel the skin off? Or is this all unnecessary?

Thank you.

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  1. d
    Das Ubergeek

    I always remove the inner skin -- it makes them a lot less rubbery.

    I make a shallow slit with the tip of a paring knife in one of the "flat" sides of the bean, then peel from the slit. I can shell a pound of de-podded fava beans in about 20 minutes.

    Then, steam them just to al-dente and toss with a clove of garlic (minced), the leaves from a few stalks of fresh oregano, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

    1. Yes the skins should be removed. As the other poster mention you can use a small paring knife, I often just use my fingernail (after washing my hands of course)

      1. Yes, it's better if you remove them. You can parboil the beans for a couple minutes, then the inner shell will slip out real easily, then you can do whatever you want with the fava inside.

        1. Does the inner "skin" need to be removed before sauteing, tossing with a salad, etc?

          No, it can be eaten, BUT I suspect most Chowhounds would remove the skin for presentation. An analogy would be spanish peanuts.

          I eat Fava Beans the same way as nuts or edamame, I eat the "inner skin".

          1. Turn on Star Treck. Husband will look at you closely and decide to run errands.

            Remove beans from pod. Stop Star Treck with TIVO.

            Boil between 1-2 minutes depending on size. This allows you to remove the second skin which is unattractive but also not very tasty.

            Start Star Treck with TIVO.

            Pierce corner of fava and slip out bean. Repeat.

            You can use the beans now or braise gently in a little olive oil, garlic, and rosemary for a puree. Heat oil until boiling. Add beans and cook for five minutes. Let beans sit in oil for ten minutes. Process. Can be used on toast or as a ravioli filling.

            1. While blanching does make them a little easier to peel, Judy Rodgers (of Zuni fame) says that it will change the texture. For the fava salad w/ salami and manchego that I posted, she explicitly discourages from blanching.

              Of course, it's your kitchen, so you decide. My personal preference is that if I were using favas in a salad or wanted a firm texture, then I would NOT blanch. If I planned to saute or cook them further, then blanching would be fine. Small young beans are also more tender, so larger ones may benefit from blanching.

              Since you're just getting acquainted w/ this bean, then I say experiment w/ both ways and see what you like. Enjoy!

              1. Life is far to short to skin these (I'm taking it these are what we call broad beans in England.) I would only bother in the beans are very big and old. If they are really small pods you can eat the whole thing , pod and all.

                1. Life is far to short to skin these (I'm taking it these are what we call broad beans in England.) I would only bother in the beans are very big and old. If they are really small pods you can eat the whole thing , pod and all.

                  1. I recently made a fava bean salad, and it was my first time using fava beans. Purely by accident, I came across a good method of getting them all peeled without too much fuss -- I used a small sharp paring knife along the edge of the pod to make getting them out of the pods faster and easier. This sliced slightly thru the seed covering on each bean -- this little slice in the skin opened up when I blanched them quickly, and then each bean easily popped out with a gentle pinch.

                    1. Right now my wife's garden runneth over with favas. When young and fresh I always eat the whole bean after blanching. Best coated with extra virgin and sprinkled with hot pepper flakes.

                      1. Blanch to remove skins.
                        Be sure to add a squeeze of lemon to the salted water to preserve color.
                        1-2 minutes only
                        Plunge beans in cold water after blanching until cool.
                        Remove skins

                        1. q
                          quiz wrangler

                          I always remove the inner skin, though I have read a number of articles/recipes that don't insist on it. IMO for reasons of taste and appearance, always remove the skins. The beans are rather ugly with the saggy skins on, bright green and beautiful when skinned. The skins can be bitter as well.