Before cooking, fresh fava beans must first be shelled, or removed from their pods. Unless they have been picked while still quite young and small, the skin that covers each shelled bean is thick and tough, and the beans must be skinned before eating. To remove the skins, drop the shelled beans into boiling water, drain and let cool. Using a small knife, pierce the skin of each bean opposite the end where it was attached to the pod and squeeze lightly. The bean will pop free of its skin.