Fava bean pods are thick with a cottony interior encapsulating 2 to 7 large lemon lime-colored beans. While the fava pods are considered inedible, the beans are tender, with a sweet, mild grassy flavor reflective of spring. The beans are similar in shape to a lima bean, plump and curvaceous. The bean's skin is thick and their texture can range from starchy to creamy depending on how young they are and how they are prepared. The young gray-green leaves, shoots, tendrils and white and black flowers of the fava plant are all edible with lean bright grassy flavors.
Fresh Fava beans are often prepared with other spring vegetables, such as peas, asparagus and morel mushrooms. Their mild flavor and unique texture adds character to salads and soups. Fresh fava beans can be pureed into spreads and served as appetizers. Pair with fresh herbs, sheep's milk cheeses, citrus, pastas, cream or wine-based sauces, young greens such as spinach and pea tendrils, bacon, lamb and seafood. Late season fava beans will become more filled out and starchier requiring a second peeling of the outer bean and cooking the beans, either by blanching or braising. Immature beans can be canned or frozen. Dried fava beans are common and are treated like most dried beans, soaked and cooked low and slow.