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Lima beans Nutrition facts and Health benefits

Selection and storage

Lima beans come in several forms; fresh, dried, small (baby beans), large, and in a variety of distinctive color patterns. In the US markets, fresh green lima hit the market by July. Fresh-frozen, dried, canned, or roasted beans can also be readily available in stores across the U.S.

While buying fresh lima pods from the local vegetable markets, look for green, mature, plump, and firm pods. You may also purchase fresh or frozen beans from the grocery. Avoid sunken, shriveled pods as the beans convert their sugars into starch. Similarly, dried or canned beans lack sweet flavor as they are deficient in vitamin C and simple sugars. While fresh tender lima beans feature a smooth, pale green color, their color changes to white or cream-yellow once they dry.

Once at home, store unshelled beans in a perforated plastic bag and place them in the refrigerator set at high relative humidity. They stay well for up to a week or so. To enjoy, however, use them soon after the harvest.

Store dry beans in a cool, dry place placed in containers away from high temperatures and high humidity.

Preparation and serving methods

Fresh lima beans are richly flavorful once cooked. As in other beans like edamame, broad (fava), etc., they too have a wonderful “beany” flavor
that melts like cream inside the mouth.

Dry lima beans are generally soaked in water for at least 5 hours to make them tender. Soaking also helps remove any anti-nutritional compounds.

To prepare, wash fresh green lima pods in cold running water. Refrigerated beans need to be dipped briefly in room temperature water to help them regain their original flavor.

To shell, snap the calyx end towards the midrib and pull all along the suture line of the pod to remove the string. Split open and remove beans. Drop them into boiling salted water for 1 minute. Drain the water and plunge them into ice water. Beans along with the seed coat can be used in cooking. You may also wish to discard its seed coat (thin cover around the bean), to pop out underlying bright green cotyledons, which are then employed in cooking.

Here are some serving tips:

Photo courtesy: Mstwinkie
  • Fresh, pale green lima beans are generally treated like vegetables. They are usually used in a wide range of dishes including soups, salads, stir-fries, stews, and casseroles.

  • They make delicious recipes and mix well with spices, herbs, rice, semolina, peas, carrot, broccoli, chili peppers, onion, tomato, lamb, poultry, and seafood.

  • Butter beans (small lima) may be added as a replacement to cannellini beans to prepare favorite Tuscan bean soup.

  • Succotash is a traditional ‘Thanksgiving day’ dish in New England and Pennsylvania, made using lima beans, corn, peppers, tomatoes and ground beef.

  • Double beans is the name for shelled lima beans in India, they are a favorite in fries, masalas, stews, and koorma.

Safety profile

Eating raw or sprouted lima beans may cause stomach cramping, diarrhea, and vomiting. Additionally, eating large quantities of undercooked beans releases cyanide (from cyanogenic glucosides), which can impair tissue oxygenation and cause severe illness.

Like in other classes of beans and some brassica group vegetables, lima beans also contain oxalic acid, a naturally occurring substance found in some vegetables, which, may crystallize as oxalate stones in the urinary tract in some people. Therefore, individuals with known
oxalate urinary tract stones are advised against eating vegetables belonging to the Brassica and Fabaceae families. Adequate intake of water is encouraged to maintain normal urine output to minimize stone formation risk. (Medical disclaimer)

You may also like to read:-

≻≻-Back to Vegetables from Lima Beans nutrition. Visit here for an impressive list of vegetables with complete illustrations of their nutrition facts and
health benefits.

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Further Resources:

  1. USDA National Nutrient Database.

  2. Immature beans (Lima) -USDA National Nutrient Database.

  3. Stanford School of Medicine Cancer information Page- Nutrition to Reduce Cancer Risk.

  4. UC Davis, Vegetable Research and information center- Phaseolus limensis.-PDF.

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