The Fordhook AKA Butterbean
The most popular lima beans in the U.S. are the Fordhook, commonly known as the butterbean, and the baby lima bean. They have many other names as well, including Haba beans, Pallar beans, Burma beans, Guffin beans, Hibbert beans, Sieva beans, Rangoon beans, Madagascar beans, Paiga, Paigya, sugar beans... long list!
Lima beans feature a starchy, potato-like taste and a grainy, yet slightly buttery, texture.
Butterbean Nutrition Nibbles
Lima beans are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber. In addition to lowering cholesterol, lima beans' high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia. When combined with whole grains such as rice, lima beans provide virtually fat-free high quality protein.
A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine confirms that eating high fiber foods, such as lima beans, helps prevent heart disease. Lima beans' contribution to heart health lies not just in their fiber, but in the significant amounts of folate, and magnesium these beans supply.
Buying and Storing Butterbeans
Dried lima beans are available two forms - canned and pre-packaged containers and bulk bins. Make sure that the containers or bins are covered tightly.
Check the beans for any evidence of moisture or insect damage.
When purchasing fresh lima beans, make sure that they are firm, deep green and glossy and devoid of any blemishes or wrinkling. Also, the beans should not have any yellowish or brownish discoloration.
The shelled varieties are extremely perishable. Check them carefully for any signs of damage or decay. Opt for the ones that are greenish or greenish-white in color and have tender skins.
When buying frozen lima beans, shake the container properly before opening it, to ensure that the beans move freely and are not clumped together. Lack of free movements inside the container suggests that the beans have been thawed and then refrozen.
When storing dried lima beans, keep them in an airtight container, in a cool, dry and dark place. This way, they can be stored for a maximum of 6 months.
Fresh varieties of lime beans can be kept crisp and fresh for several days if they are stored in the refrigerator. They should never be thawed and should be stored whole in their pods.
A Few Quick Serving Ideas:
If you can find whole lima beans in the market, you can serve them as an appetizer sprinkled with seasoning just like edamame (whole soy bean pods).
For a twist on the traditional native American dish succotash, make lima bean burritos. Fill corn tortillas with lima beans and corn kernels, and then top with chopped tomatoes, avocado and scallions.
Blend cooked lima beans and sweet potatoes together. Serve this tasty dish on a plate accompanied by your favorite grain and fresh vegetable.
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