When I visited Lebanon earlier this spring, fava beans were in season, so every place we stopped seemed to have a big basket of the green pods, ready for shucking and nibbling raw. My Lebanese hosts looked on with bemusement as I painstakingly peeled off and discarded the translucent skin from each individual bean. "We don't do that," they said. And, it turns out, neither does much of the rest of the world.
In the Wall Street Journal, Nancy Harmon Jenkins writes that fava bean eaters in Italy, Greece, Spain, Great Britain and, yes, Lebanon don't bother to peel the skins off their beans. Only in France are the skins carefully peeled and discarded — and of course, here in the United States, where we follow the French preparation.
While the skin of very mature favas can be too thick to eat, younger beans are just as sweet with or without their skins, as I learned firsthand. After a couple days of flicking fava bean skins into ashtrays, I started following the lead of those around and popping the raw beans into my mouth, skin and all. And you know what? They were just as tasty and a whole lot easier to eat.
→ Read more: Stop Peeling Those Fava Beans at The Wall Street Journal
Do you usually peel away the skin from fava beans? Or do you eat them skin and all?
(Image: Rob Werfel Photography/Shutterstock)