Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Viagra of the Bean World

This is a re-post due to an earlier technical issue. Another foodie blog that I subscribe to inspired me consider fava beans (also called broad beans). I had eaten them in restaurants on occasion and discovered them at the farmers market recently. Right now we have one farmer selling organic fava beans. There was another; a recent storm wiped out their crop. Part of the joy of local foods is paying attention to how the weather events affect crops.

The actual beans reside in a 4-5 inch speckled green pod. When you break open the pod – it is easily done by pinching or tearing it – you see that the pods protect the beans with an inner white layer. This is much like the thin Styrofoam sheets that protect electronics during shipping. Additionally, the beans have another waxy protective layer directly on them.






To get to the actual edible part, remove them from the pods and parboil the beans for a few minutes. Then, shock them in a bowl of ice water. You will be able to remove the outer skin. After this they are ready to freeze or use in cooking.

The blanched, peeled beans are a sassy green. One and one half points of fava bean pods yielded a slightly heaping cup of edible beans. I don’t know how much waste there is with other beans, but favas seem expensive to me. They are, as the farmer joked, “The caviar or the bean world.”




So, where does Viagra fit in? According to Wikipedia “some people” use them as a natural alternative to Viagra. You are on your own with that one.

I nibbled on them after cooking; they were good. I can see adding them to pasta, stir fry, chili, and soup. I suspect that they could be interchangeable with edamame. They are a good source of fiber and protein. According to www.nutritiondata.self.com one cup has 187 calories, and they are low fat.

Theresa’s Fava Bean Dip (serve with whole wheat pita)
1 cup parboiled fava beans
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
½ - 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon finely minced fresh mint leaves
½ Tablespoon finely minced chives
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/16 teaspoon cayenne pepper
A sprinkle of black pepper

Sauté the garlic in the olive oil for about 5 minutes.
Remove the garlic and add the fava beans to the oil – sauté them for about 5 minutes.

Blend the fava beans, oil, garlic, and all other ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Cool before eating.

16 comments:

  1. I can't wait to try this recipe the next time I get my hands on some fava beans! they're out of season in DC now, sadly :( I plan to pick up some canned ones soon though.

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