The Real Cost of Fava Beans
By Tom // Posted 27 April, 2009 in: Food + Drink
As winter slowly releases its icy grip on the north, I get pretty desperate for any vegetable that isn’t a root. It is pretty exciting when green things start to reappear in the grocery, even if they have to be trucked in from California in late April. So it is with fresh fava beans, a clear indication that it’s spring somewhere.
And at only $2.99/lb, they’re a steal. Well, not quite. Most vegetables entail some amount of waste, and in the case of fava beans it’s a whole lot. The beans are encased in pods, like peas, and then each bean has a thick shell around it that also needs to be removed.
How much waste is this? The total weight of everything was 9 3/8 oz (although the Wedge charged me for 10 1/4 oz—I wonder whose scale is wrong). The weight of the edible beanswas 1 5/8 oz, while the weight of the pods and shells was 7 7/8 oz (slight discrepancy here due to my scale being accurate only to somewhere more than 1/8 oz). Only 17% of what you buy is edible. $2.99/lb? In terms of food you can actually eat, it’s more like $17.50/lb. Yikes! Such is desperation for at the end of a long winter.
This wouldn’t seem so bad if you could come up with a useful way to employ the pods and shells. Anybody have any ideas?