The process of shucking and peeling the secondary protective coats off fresh favas beans can be time consuming and annoying - if you let it. Why not approach the task as meditation or an opportunity to gather with family and friends around the kitchen table to prepare a delicious meal together? The final reveal - that vibrant green color of sweet, young beans will be worth the effort.
If you are feeling adventurous, save tender pods for soup. Simmer with potatoes and leeks to add a spinach-like taste, then blend into a thick, creamy soup. You can also grill whole pods, even when mature, and eat the whole thing - pod, inner coat, bean and all.
There are a few tricks of the trade to help speed up the process of removing the protective coat from fava beans. One is par-boiling fava beans for 2-3 minutes with a teaspoon of baking soda, salt or calc; boil a little longer if the coat is tough. Rinse, then plunge for several minutes into a bath of ready-to-go icy cold water until they cool. Drain and start peeling. Calc helps to separate the seed coat from the bean; it can be found online or at local, Latin American markets.
Another way to remove the secondary coat is to start by making a small incision with a knife, then par-boil as above. Squeeze and the beans should pop right out.
Canned fava beans come with or without their seed coats. Seed coats are edible, but some recipes call for removing them. In general, you don’t need to remove the coats when using canned favas in soups, stews or recipes like ful mudammas.
Dried beans come whole and split. For whole dried beans, the protective coats can be tough. They come off easier after soaking them for 24 hours in a bowl of room temperature water. Then drain, rinse several times, add more water and boil till soft.
Frozen fava beans are readily available with or without their coats in many international markets. Keep this staple in the freezer to pop in your mouth and enjoy a nutritious and protein-packed snack.