Lima Beans


Lima beans are legumes with a buttery texture and flavor; one type of lima bean is in fact called the butter bean. They are an excellent source of protein and fiber. Children who think lima beans are poison are only partially wrong: lima beans contain linamarin, a form of cyanide; cooking relseases the cyanide as a gas and makes them safe to eat, though lima beans should never be consumed raw. The lima bean is native to Central and South America and is named after Lima, Peru, though the pronunciation is different.


Other names: Chad Bean
Translations: Pupelės, Fasole Lima, Lima grah, Limaboontjies, लीमा बीन्स, Лима фасоль, Φασόλια Λίμα, ليما البقول, 리마 콩, Lima fazole, Lima beans, 利马豆, Lima beans, Lima Fižol, Lima fazuľa, Fagioli Lima, שעועית לימה, LIMABÖNOR, Лима пасуљ, リマ豆, Haricot de Lima, Lima beans, Ліма квасоля, Limapavut, Лима Фасул

Physical Description

Colors: cream, green, white, red, purple, brown or black colored coverings

Tasting Notes

Flavors: Bland, Subtle
Mouthfeel: Buttery, Smooth, Soft
Food complements: Rice, Meat, Vegetables
Wine complements: White wine, Sauvignon blanc
Beverage complements: Tea, Ale, Cider
Substitutes: Beans, Food

Selecting and Buying

Seasonality: january, february, march, april, may, june, july, august, september, opctober, november, december
Peak: june, july, august
Choosing: Usually lima beans are already prepackaged. Just look for ones that look fresh and smooth instead of wrinkly.
Buying: Lima Beans are available at any local market. They can come fresh, in cans, dried in a package or in the frozen aisle.

Preparation and Use

Cleaning: Lima beans should be rinsed under cold water to get rid of any unwanted debris.

Conserving and Storing

Fresh lima beans needs to be used right away. Lima beans can be canned, dried or place in the freezer for longer storage options.


History: Historians are unsure whether lima beans first originated in Peru or Guatemala. Spanish explorers of Columbus's time discovered many varieties in South America and introduced them to Europe and Asia. Portuguese explorers who came to South America introduced lima beans to Africa. By the 19th century, the United States has the majority of domestic lima bean production in California.



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