Fava beans, also known as broad beans, are vividly green legumes with a nutty flavor and smooth, buttery texture. Although they gained notoriety in the 1991 hit "The Silence of the Lambs" as one of Hannibal Lecter's favorite side dishes, fava beans are actually one of the oldest cultivated plants on earth, and have been a staple of Asian, European and South American diets for centuries. Since fava beans are available for just a few springtime months, you may wish to stock up while you can and freeze your fava beans so you can enjoy them year-round.

Place the fava bean pods in a large colander and rinse them under cool water. Toss the pods as you rinse them to thoroughly remove all debris.

Shell the pods. Place both thumbs in the middle of the pod and break it. Slide the fava beans out with your thumbs.

Fill a large pot two-thirds full of water. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup Kosher salt (enough salt to make the water taste like seawater) and bring it to a boil.

Pour the fava beans into the boiling water. Boil for two to four minutes (two minutes for small beans, three minutes for mid-size beans, four minutes for large beans). This will kill any bacteria and bacteria-forming enzymes and prepare the beans for the freezer.

Place a colander in the sink. Pour the fava beans and hot water into the colander.

Plunge the fava beans immediately into a large bowl of ice water. Allow them to soak for the same length of time that you boiled them.

Drain the cooled fava beans through a colander. Shake the colander to expel excess water.

Remove the pale skin that surrounds each fava bean. Some skins will already be split and it will be easy to pop out the bean. Pop the other skins with your fingernail and slide the beans out.

Vacuum seal the fava beans and put them in the freezer.


  • In lieu of a vacuum sealer, put the fava beans in a freezer bag. Place one end of a straw in the bag and seal the bag around the straw. Place your mouth on the other end of the straw and suck out as much air as possible. Remove the straw, seal the bag and freeze.

  • Freeze fava beans for up to one year.