The fava forest is now over six feet tall and the bean pods are are ripening. Although fava plants grow straight up without support, as the pods started to get heavy I had to tie them up so they wouldn’t fall over.
When picking the beans this morning, I tried to pick mostly from the bottom of the plants, selecting the hardest beans. Because I have two types of beans planted together, I couldn’t go by size alone; the pods from the Hornby Island beans are much bigger than the Windsor beans.
Once I picked the beans, I shelled them and then boiled them for three minutes to remove the coats. After plunging them in cold water, I squeezed them out of the coats and into a bowl. Although some recipes use the beans at this state – and they are soft enough to eat with a buttery texture – I like to cook them further. This summer we have put them in paella (and let them cook with the arroz) and I have also sauteed them with garlic and also with prosciutto.
Judging by all the liver comments I get from my friends, most people are only familiar with favas in a “Silence of the Lambs” context. Based on my success with them in the garden, in the kitchen and because even my kids eat them, they will become one of our garden staples. Next experiment: growing them over the winter.
In other news, I went to the nursery today with my assistants and we bought ourselves some ladybugs which we are going to release tonight….
PS – It’s a good thing that I tied up most of the fava beans because last night one of my assistants told me he was going to “add some moisture” to the garden in anticipation of releasing the ladybugs. At the time, I asked him to water the fava beans as I noticed that the soil was very dry, but I should have been more specific about what that meant: based on the number of leaves that were torn off the plants I think he “washed” the beans using the “Jet” setting.