Although we associate them mostly with Mediterranean cuisine, fava beans grow all over the world, from China to South America. These large, flat legumes, which resemble lima beans, grow in pods that are usually discarded unless the beans are especially young. They are in season in the spring, but you can find them well into the summer in cooler climates. Fava beans work well in stews and thick purées, or can simply be grilled whole and eaten from their pods with salt and a squeeze of lemon.
HOW TO BUY
When purchasing fresh fava beans, look for bright green pods that are free of yellow patches. Large beans are starchy and firm, while smaller ones are sweeter and more tender. If you are buying shelled beans, select beans with a smooth surface.
HOW TO STORE
Store favas in a perforated plastic bag in the vegetable crisper, to shell just before use. You can store shelled favas the same way but be sure to use them within three days.
HOW TO PREPARE
To shell favas, unzip the seam of the pod and remove the beans. The light green skin should easily slip off the beans. They are now ready to use.