I walk by these fava bean plants everyday but you know how you get used to seeing something and don’t really look at it? I wasn’t noticing that there were lots of fava beans ready, and some past ready, for picking. They are incredible plants. They are nitrogen fixers. They grow all winter here without any care. They have pretty flowers. The beans are delicious – if you are willing to do the work of getting to the edible part. And they produce piles of soft greens for the compost. When I was working full time, I often wasn’t willing to do all the work of harvesting the beans and they were still worth planting for their other attributes.
These don’t just split open like a pea pod. The pod does not like to give up its seed. You have to break and squeeze to pop it out.
Then the beans have to be blanched for a few minutes in order to be able to tear the tough outer skin and pop out the edible part. Each bean is a very labor intensive tidbit. No wonder restaurants use them like condiments. I think they are delicious plain or thrown into a stir fry right at the end.
One winter I tried cooking dried fava beans thinking I might get the same flavor. What a disappointment – soaked cardboard.
A couple of years ago, I made boxes. I kept this one because, well, for one reason, the top fell off and distorted, but also because it reminds me of all the years I kept chickens in my yard and this time of year I really miss having them and the little chicklets.