Lima Bean

Lima beans are slightly plumped legumes that range from creamy white to green, red, purple, and even black.
Lima beans have a taste that is unique compared to other legume family members, such as kidney and black beans. They're a great vegetarian choice for those who enjoy the healthful properties and taste of high-protein foods.


The (LIE-muh) bean is indeed named after the Peruvian capital, (LEE-muh), but some historians believe it was first discovered in .


Also known as butter beans (Fordhook), , calico, chad, and . beans are red, while others may be black, brown, purple, or speckled.

A second variety is referred to as baby limas. They are a main ingredient in the Native American dish succotash. Baby limas are mature beans and half the size of Fordhooks. They contain less starch and are not as strong in taste. 

Buying Tips

Fresh beans are not always available commercially, even when in season. Firm, pliable pods will snap when bent in half. 

When purchasing loose from a bin, look for smooth, unbroken skin.

Storage Tips

Dried beans will remain fresh longer – up to one year – if kept in an airtight glass container. Once cooked, they should be refrigerated, but not longer than twenty-four hours before freezing.

Fresh pods can be refrigerated for a few days before shelling. Once shelled, cook or freeze the beans.

Usage Tips

Remove any debris and rinse thoroughly.

To presoak, place in a pan of water and refrigerate overnight. Alternatively, boil for two minutes, remove from heat and leave covered for an hour. With either method, discard the soaking water before cooking.

Lima beans produce a large amount of foam while simmering. Pressure cooking is not recommended.

Beans will become tough when cooked for long periods with salty or acidic ingredients. If using tomatoes, for instance, include only when the beans are done (or prepare separately).

Nutrition Notes

Like all legumes, lima beans are high in both soluble and unsoluble fiber, along with protein, folate, iron, and magnesium. The soluble fiber in limas is a known blood sugar stabilizer that provides a steady source of energy.

Always cook thoroughly. Raw beans contain cyanide compounds. When heated, hydrogen cyanide gas dissipates leaving th