How to Cook Lima Beans

Lima beans are relatively large, flat, kidney-shaped light green beans. These beans are usually removed from their pods before eating.

Availability:
August and September.

Buying Guide: Look for green, shiny, and pliable pods; beans should fill pods well. Avoid pods with signs of drying. Half the weight (the shell) is waste. Although yields vary according to size of bean, 1 pound when shelled will measure 1 to 2 cups of beans. Buy plump shelled beans with green to greenish-white skins.

Storage: Refrigerate pods in a perforated plastic bag up to 3 days. Use as soon as possible since flavor is best when fresh. Shell just before using.

History: Lima beans were named for the capital of Peru, the country which they originated. Also called "butter beans," limas come in many sizes. Young lima beans are interchangeable with fresh fava beans, cowpeas, and shelling beans in recipes.

  1. To shell beans, open pods at seams by pinching pods between thumbs and forefingers.

    Pinch the pod between your fingers and pry it open.
    Pinch the pod between your
    fingers and pry it open.

  2. Remove beans; discard shells.

    Remove the beans and discard the shells.
    Remove the beans and
    discard the shells.

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