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Today I bought some fava beans in their pods at Fresh World.  As I was selecting mine, I asked the lady standing next to me, who was selecting hers based on what appeared to be different criteria, how she cooked them.  She said that she cut them up, pod and all, and put them in lamb soup.   In response to another question, she said she is from Palestine.

I have never heard of eating them pod and all, and after some googling and wiki-ing, still can't find any support for this.

Anyone?

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Ah, Josh, that explains why the other shopper was selecting smaller pods.  I was feeling for the presence of beans, she was going for younger, thinner pods.  I doubt that the ones I selected will be suitable for cooking the pods, but I will give it a try. Interestingly, when I popped a couple open yesterday, the beans did not have a skin on them.  The other shopper gave me a tip for cooking the pods, make sure you remove the string, just like stringing green beans and sugar snap peas.

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For what it's worth: They have frozen fava beans at Trader Joe's (at least they have had recently, at the West End store). They're out of the pod, but still in the skins. (I've never encountered fava beans that I would consider edible without removing the skins.) I zap the frozen beans in the microwave for just a few seconds to thaw them, and then slip the skins off. I honestly believe that I could not tell the difference between these and fresh favas, and they're obviously a whole lot less trouble.

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I have a fava bean emergency:

I am pre-testing recipes for a Viking feast coming up this Saturday, which I need to prepare for about a dozen people. Yes, I have waited until the last minute here, but I picked a bunch of simple recipes to make my life easier. One recipe is for a fava bean salad - a simple salad of the beans, apples, mushrooms, onions, nuts, cheese, with vinegar and honey dressing - how hard can that be?  I live in PG county where grocery options are kinda limited, so when I went looking for fava beans last week, the only thing I could find was some dried beans at Mom's organic mart, and also some small canned beans. I picked up an extra bag of the dried beans to test this week.

So, following the instructions on the package, I soaked the beans overnight to get the skins off. Following some internet advice, I then blanched the soaked beans in water with some baking soda for a minute or two to loosen the skins, peeled them, and then proceeded with "simmer for 35-40 minutes" in fresh water per the package. 8 minutes later, I check and the beans are almost completely dissolved in the water. Now I am seeing mixed advice when I search - leave the beans in the skin when cooking dried beans, peel the beans because the skin is nasty, etc.

Should I not have blanched them??

Should I leave them in the skin?? If so, do I peel the skin after they are cooked??

Should I ditch the dried beans and go pick up a bunch of canned beans??

I'm pretty far from anything but Safeway, Giant, and Mom's - no Whole Foods, TJs, etc. Will be doing my main shopping on Thursday, but I've already got to go out of the way for some specialties at Ikea &etc, so I'd like to avoid an additional major trek in search of fava beans if possible.

Any suggestions on what to do with a pot of dissolved bean mush? Ugh.

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My guess, and it is only a guess, is go for canned whole fava beans , or even better, frozen. The season for fresh ones is gone. Dried ones don't stay intact. Dried beans behave entirely differently than fresh. Canned or frozen are close to fresh. You need intact beans for a salad.

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Based on the other ingredients, I think the recipe is calling for "fresh" fava beans.  Dried fava beans have a very strong flavor that would overwhelm the other ingredients.  Depending on consistency, you might be able to salvage the beans as a base for a hummus type dip or puree, or as the base of a bean soup.

Is there a Korean supermarket nearby?  They usually stock frozen fava beans - possibly even peeled ones which would be better than the unpeeled ones.  Bring them to boil in salted water and then drain immediately, then use in the salad.  Another option is to use edamame or lima beans to sub for fava, they have somewhat more tender skin and can be eaten unpeeled.

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Yes, it almost certainly wants fresh beans, which just isn't going to happen.

I popped open the can of backup beans that I had also bought. The weird thing is the canned ones are tiny - smaller than kidney beans, so they are really really hard to skin. I went through the can and only successfully skinned about half, but that was enough to test the rest of the recipe, so there was at least partial success (it tastes good, just need to fix the bean consistency thing).

I think I will need to go on a hunt and see what I can find....  there are a bunch of Latin markets not terribly far from here, and a New Grand Mart that has a mix of Asian/Latin/Indian stuff, so I'll head over that way. Thanks for the tips!

Am converting the mush into a Moroccan fava bean soup for tomorrow night.

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