This morning was cool and overcast so our family sat inside reading the paper. My son pointed out a fat mother raccoon and her three very fat babies coming down from the back yard. We watched them walking along the side of the house to the front garden, where they stopped and ate the strawberries. They then continued waddling down the front steps and down the sidewalk as though they owned the neighborhood.
This may explain one of my observations this week: a number of the apples hanging in the branches have been chewed almost to the stem. I am used to seeing lots of bites out of the groundfall apples, but I’ve never seen this. The fact that the raccoons (assuming it is them) are eating almost the entire apple makes me feel much better than if they were only taking one or two bites of each. I am going to assume that these same raccoons have also been taking large bites of the fava bean pods and eating the beans inside.
This has been a very fava-intense week and I have been picking and processing favas every day. Fava beans have a spectrum of maturity, and you can pretty well eat them from the time you can feel distinct beans in the pod to the point when the bean becomes large enough to change the shape of the pod. The first few beans hit medium-maturity two weeks ago and so we have been eating them since. This week the fava plants started to turn black and their leaves fell off. I guess it is a fungus or a blight. Yesterday and today I pulled out all the fava plants very carefully, as they were interspersed with four big potato plants, likely sprouted from the neglected leftovers of last years crop.
One last thing about favas. In his cookbook Plenty, Yotam Ottolenghi says that you can process fava beans (after they are shelled from the pods) by pouring boiling water over them for a minute, and after dropping them in an ice bath you can squeeze them out of their little bean coats. I have been trying this method, but find that boiling them, for about three to five minutes works better. After they’re squeezed out of their coats, I usually the dark green beans a little further by sauteing them with garlic or other herbs.
One last thing about veggies, forwarded to me by my friend JW:
“For the memo: kale is just hairy spinach. Stop trying to make it happen. Choupette Lagerfled (Karl’s cat):