Lima bean

[English] plural Lima beans

Lima or butter beans are a slightly sweet to neutral-flavored oval to kidney-shaped legume which when dried are cream colored, but fresh, are pale green.  High in both potassium and protein, they are served both hot and cold from soups to salads, sautéed in butter or olive oil and famously so with corn in a dish called succotash.  Cooked limas have a soft, yielding and smooth texture.  Overcooked, the beans can be bitter and mealy while when fresh, they must be cooked uncovered to allow the naturally occurring and minute amounts of cyanide to escape, for this reason, lima or butter beans cannot be eaten raw.  Native to South America, there are two well-known varietals, the larger Fordhook and “baby” limas which when speckled purple are known as calico beans.  Lima beans may also be called wax beans, Madagascar or, sometimes, chad beans.

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