A New World bean named for Lima, Peru. There are two distinct varieties: the baby lima and the Fordhook. Both are pale green, plump-bodied and have a slight kidney-shape curve with a buttery flavor and creamy texture. The Fordhook is larger, plumper and fuller than the baby lima. In the South, dried limas are frequently called butter beans. When mottled with purple, they are called calico or speckled butter beans. Lima beans should not be eaten raw. They contain linamarin, which releases a cyanide compound when the seed is opened; however, cooking deactivates this compound. Many countries, including the U.S., restrict commercially grown varieties to those with very low cyanogen levels. The lima beans grown in Java and Burma have 20 to 30 times the concentration allowed in most Western countries.
Plural: Lima beans
Season: July - October
How to select: Fresh lima beans are usually sold in their pods, which should be plumb, firm and dark green.
How to store: Refrigerate fresh lima bean pods in plastic for up to 1 week.
How to prepare: Shell pods just before using.
Matches well with: bacon, butter, cheddar cheese, corn, dill, garlic, lemon, nutmeg, olive oil, onions, parsley, tomatoes
Substitutions: lima beans = soy beans = fava beans