Lima Beans aka Butter Beans
Lima beans (aka butter beans) originated in Central and South America. There are two main types; a smaller, green variety (Sieva type) and a larger wild variety (Lima type). The smaller bean was first cultivated in Central America and distribution extended from Mexico to Argentina, predominantly in lower elevations below 1,600 metres. The larger bean was cultivated mainly in the north of Peru, at higher elevations in the Andean mountain range, and it is these larger, creamy, flat yellow/white beans that are widely known to many as butter beans.
Butter beans can be purchased fresh in some areas where they are grown, but are more often dried or canned. Like other beans, they are a good source of cholesterol-lowering fibre which can also help prevent blood sugars rising too quickly after meals and provide bulk in the diet to aid digestion, preventing many common disorders.
Before cooking butter beans, soaking them overnight covered in water with a little salt helps to soften them and reduce cooking times. Don’t add salt to the cooking water though as this can make them tough and increase cooking times. It’s important to make sure that they are cooked thoroughly in fresh water until soft, bringing them to the boil and simmering, which may take more than 1 hour. to make sure that any potentially harmful toxins are removed.
For more facts about beans see our earlier blog about haricot beans here.
Why not try our recipes using lima beans