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Difference in water pH - basic water pops skins off. That's why in the old country we use baking soda. 

The restaurant trick is to quickly blanch fava and then ice it (or better yet, put it in the blast freezer for a few). The skins come off very easily. 

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We seem to get a bumper crop of favas every year, and fortunately N doesn't mind doing the shelling while watching TV.  I think it's a Zen kind of thing for her.

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13 hours ago, Sneakeater said:

I mean, I really LIKE fava beans.  But to me, NOTHING could be worth that trouble.

Exactly.  We went to a cocktail hour where the hostess had made fava puree dip for a dozen people.   Delicious but you gotta be kidding...

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