Cookbook:Lima Bean

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Lima Bean

Cookbook | Recipes | Ingredients | Vegetables

Serving Size: ¼ cup dry (35 g)
Servings Per Recipe: about 13 per pound
Amount per serving
Calories 100
Calories from fat 0
Total Fat 0 g
Saturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 5 mg
Total Carbohydrates 22 g
Dietary Fiber 7 g
Sugars 3 g
Protein 8 g
Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin C 4%
Calcium 2%
Iron 15%

The lima bean, also known as the chad bean or butter bean, is a large disk-shaped bean used in succotash. Lima beans originated in Peru and have been grown there since 6000 B.C. The name comes from the capital city of Peru, Lima. Lima beans are almost always called "butter beans" in the southern part of the United States, even in markets and restaurants.

Lima beans come in three main varieties:

  • Large lima beans are green or speckled. The speckled kind have a creamy texture and a strong earthy flavor, unlike the pale green ones.
  • Small lima beans are also called sieva beans, Carolina bean, civet, seewee, and sivvy. Most small limas are pale green. They are less starchy than the larger varieties.
  • Dwarf lima beans, also known as butter peas, are white and speckled and the least starchy of the limas.

Fresh lima beans are difficult to find in the United States, but can occasionally be found at farmers' markets. It is easier to find lima beans in the southern United States than anywhere else in the country. Most lima beans are dried, canned, or frozen.



Fresh lima beans need to be shelled before they are eaten. Shelling can be a little tricky, especially with larger beans. Beans are easier to handle if they are tender and have full pods. One method used for larger beans is to simply cut open the pod with scissors and remove the beans by hand. To remove the beans from smaller limas, pull off the string along the seam, and press the two sides open to pop the beans out. Rinse canned limas before using them to reduce their gas-promoting properties.

Lima beans should never be eaten raw (see warning below). The most common methods of preparation are boiling and microwaving. Only a small amount of water needs to be used for either method.
Dry lima beans require soaking before cooking.



Do not eat lima beans raw. When eaten raw, lima beans produce the poison cyanide.