Favas Suck (-otash)!

Fava beans are a pain in the ass. Fresh favas are over-priced and not worth the trouble. I only got them because I thought they would make me cool. There, I said it.

Wait, aren’t they trendy? How could trendy things be over-rated? Well because after you spend $2.50 for a pound of fresh beans and 1/2 hour cooking and shelling them, to end up with enough bean to barely fill a shot glass, you have to convince others (and yourself) that you are not an idiot…and lie.


Whatever. It was a great one-time experience that made me sort of wiser. It is the bean equivalent of Tijuana. The only difference is that this time I am going to share what happened with my beans so that you don’t have to make the same mistake.

Here are the basics on making fava beans edible:

  1. Fresh favas come in fuzzy pod. First you split this pod open and extract the 6-8 beans inside.
  2. Repeat this for the 10 or 15 pods you got in the 1 pound of beans you bought.
  3. Once you have finished this, you will have an insignificant pile of beans…and four more steps to complete until they are even close to useful.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and then simmer the beans for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Cool the beans in a bath of ice water.
  6. Your done!…hahha NOPE!
  7. Ok, now you have remove the tough skin around the bean. To do this use a knife or your nail to make a small slit in the skin and slip the bean out.
  8. Repeat this to every single bean you have. Luckily, since there are so few beans in a pound, this will not take too long.
  9. Take the beans you now have and proceed as you like.

…and now you know why fava beans are overrated.


But Luke, fava beans are tasty…are you suggesting not eating them?

Of course not! I have two different plans to have you fava-fulfilled:

  1. Find a black-market source for the beans costing less than $.99 a pound. Step 2…child labor. Make this into a game or something. You will not have to worry about the kids eating the profit because beans are kids’ natural enemy. Kids also have small hands, making for quicker bean extraction.
  2. Get a pound of frozen fava beans from Whole Foods for $2. It would take $10 worth of fresh beans and two hours of your life to get the same amount of beans that you could defrost in 10 minutes. Chances are the frozen beans even taste better because they were picked and frozen at their peak instead of sitting around on some sorry grocery shelf waiting for a week until some fool buys them. Seriously.

Wait…Luke, you just made me waste 10 minutes of my busy, busy work day to learn that I could just use frozen beans and have just as good results?

Yep! Don’t you hate blogs?

I also saved the best for last. A certain percentage of the population has a genetic defect and is deathly allergic to raw fava beans. This defect is strangely called “Favaism.” How do you know if you are allergic? Well one sign is that your are dead. Other than that I really have no idea…do you really want to take medical advice from me? And seriously, I made you read this entire post just to tell you to buy frozen favas.


Fava Succotash

Note: Succotash is usually made with lima beans, but favas are a better bean. I served it with some halibut cooked for about 3.5 minutes on each side. It could work as a side for almost any meat.


1 part fava beans (fresh or frozen)

1 part frozen corn


Rosemary and thyme


  1. For fresh beans, peel and blanch as directed above. For frozen blanch as directed on the packaging.
  2. Take the frozen corn and cook in a dry pan until the corn browns and starts to pop open a little.
  3. Add the butter, herbs and fava beans and saute until the beans start to brown a little.
  4. Add salt to taste.

10 thoughts on “Favas Suck (-otash)!

  1. When I was living in Europe, I was boiling fava beans (not to long, till they’re soft) in a pot and the salt was added at the very end of cooking. Thanks to this the skin was soft and edible. They are delicious with a soy sos :) I am disappointed that I can’t find them in the US. Ok, I found dried fava beans which did not have taste at all.

  2. You are too funny and of course right.I believe in fresh ingredients and the farmers market and all that what should be common sense stuff. However, until my local farmer’s market starts carrying items like frozen lima and fava beans, I am going to be wasting more gas traveling to two locations. I despite cooking dry beans in general… it’s just not worth it.

  3. I love Fava Beans…’s a tip to save lots of time.
    Add 1 Tblspoon of Salt to a pot of boiling water.
    Toss in the Favas….pods and all.
    Reduce heat and cook about 20 minutes.
    Let them cool slightly, squirt the beans from the pods.
    In So.California we plant Fava or Broad Beans in early November and you won’t believe what a crop you can produce.

  4. Thank you for feeling my pain. I spent more than an hour and a half last night shucking 2-3 lbs. of the pods, boiling then ice cooling the beans, and cutting open the stupid casing. All for about 1 cups of beans. I made a pasta with them and told my husband to enjoy it because I was never ever cooking with fresh fava beans again. What a joke! Nice blog!

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  6. I recently also discovered frozen fava beans in the frozen veggie section of local hispanic grocery stores in DC area. The instructions had some exotic recipe that called for adding several other products I didn’t recognize but basically tomatoes and spices were added and cooked with water for 45 minutes.

    So I improvised and found something by accident quite delicious. I add olive oil or bacon fat if handy – about a tablespoon of either, in a large pot and add the beans and cover with water. Add salt, and paprika and tumeric, a few shakes each – about half teaspoon each. add cracked black pepper, cook for about 45 minutes adding more water to cover at 18 minutes and again at 36 minutes. During last 9 to 10 let the water cook mostly off to leave a thick paste of the olive oil and the mushes cooking out of the favas- just enough to make a tasty light sauce covering. Lately I also started adding a single chipotle pepper and half tbs of adobo. I freeze the chipotles in single chipotle servings with a little adobo in freezer since more than one in a recipe is generally too hot. Mash this in early into the water so that it spreads evenly during the cooking process. Me and my chocolate lab both can’t get enough of them. I add them in handfuls to salads after cooking this way also.

  7. We grow loads of favas, but here in NZ we call them Broad beans. They are so easy to grow, and such prolific producers, that I can’t imagine why they are so expensive! This year I harvested about 40 kilos of the little sweeties. As our corn is now ready, I will make this yummy looking succotash. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  9. LOL! Found my way here because I was looking for a recipe for FROZEN fava beans. First time in my life I bought the damn things and I avoided a trip to Tijuana. How cool is that?

    What a cool site by the way. Love the pictures and the recipes.

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