If you have eaten canned lima beans and hated the experience, you should definitely try preparing fresh lima beans on your own as that is sure to change your opinion. Lima beans are healthy, nutritious and super easy to prepare, what else could you possibly wish for?
We have, as always, prepared an easy to follow guide on how to cook fresh lima beans and get the best out of them, but also some great mouthwatering recipes you should definitely give a try!
A Little Bit About Lima Beans
Lima beans, as the name suggest, originate from Lima, a capital of Peru. Like America, lima beans have been discovered by Christopher Colombo. Nowadays, most of the lima beans you can purchase on our market come from Asia. They are also called butter and wax beans due to their soft texture and buttery flavor.
Lima beans are a member of the kidney bean family and look very similar to Romano beans- only shorter and wider. They can be both small and large and can be purchased in their pods or already shelled. We recommend the first option as pods will best indicate how fresh the lima beans are.
EXTRA TIP: When buying lima beans look for crisp and firm pods. If shucked beans are your only option, at least make sure that beans are not soft or discolored.
WARNING: Never eat lima beans raw as they contain cyanide and can cause death!
Why Eat Fresh Lima Beans?
Besides the fact that lima beans taste great when added to soups, meat dishes stews, or on their own there are also numerous health benefits they bring to your plate. We have made a list, and it is quite impressive!
Lima beans are:
1. Rich in dietary fibers- Great news for your stomach but also for all those suffering from diabetes as lima beans are rich in soluble fiber and contain a low glycemic index that will keep their blood sugar level in check. It means no constipation as well!
2. Rich in iron- If you suffer from iron deficiency, lima beans should definitely be a part of your regular diet. The iron present in lima beans is non-heme iron which means it has no fat and will not interfere with your low-calorie diet.
3. Rich in protein- If you are vegetarian or vegan and need a source of high-quality proteins, lima beans are a great choice. The amount of protein in lima beans is actually only a bit lower than in red meat.
4. Rich in folates- Folates are especially important for pregnant women as they help keep the baby safe from neural tube defect and or premature labor.
5. Rich in molybdenum-This compound actually serves to detoxify sulfites from your body as some people can be allergic to them and suffer from a headache or rapid heartbeat as a result.
6. Rich in potassium- Potassium keeps your digestive system and your heart healthy, but also creates new cells in your body speeding up the healing process. It is great for your bones as well.
7. Rich in manganese- Manganese stimulates the production of antioxidants which fight against free radicals that are set to harm our body.
8. Rich in vitamins- Lima beans are full of vitamins, such as Vitamin B6, Thiamine, and Niacin.
9. Rich in copper-Copper stimulates the release of antioxidants that, as we have already mentioned, help fight free radicals.
10. Rich in magnesium-Magnesium is an essential mineral for the proper function of the cardiovascular system. It stimulates blood flow and helps your arteries and veins relax.
11. A great energy-booster- Protein and high amounts of soluble fiber we have already mentioned will provide you with slow-burning energy and thus make you more energetic during the day.
12. Low-calorie food- A serving of lima beans (approx. a cup) contains around 200 calories and an array of useful nutrients which makes it a perfect choice for a low-calorie diet.
13. Preventing breast cancer- Some studies have shown that lima beans can protect women from breast cancer due to isoflavone content.
14. Great carbohydrate and sugar ratio- Food which contains carbohydrates usually has a high sugar level as well, but lima beans are an exception and are thus a great source of energy that will not make you fat or have some other harmful effects.
15. Low sodium level- great news for all the people who suffer from high blood pressure!
How To Cook Fresh Lima Beans
You will need:
● White plate
● Large bowls
● Saucepan or heavy pot
Step 1- Clean The Beans
Take a white plate and spread a handful of fresh lima beans on it as to be able to closely examine them and take out all the beans that are spoilt, wrinkled or broken. You also need to toss out anything that is not lima beans (stones or dirt are a common occurrence).
Step 2- Cover The Beans With Water
Take a large bowl and pour the cleaned lima beans into it. Cover the beans with cold water. Ideally, the water and beans ratio should be 3 to 1 which means that you should pour three glasses of water for each cup of lima beans you used. Remove any beans floating on the surface as that is a sure sign that they have gone bad.
Step 3-Let The Lima Beans Soak Overnight
Allowing the beans to soak overnight will make them absorb water and double in size. This will also help them cook more quickly and eliminate their gas-producing side effects as the water will begin dissolving the starch responsible for producing gas.
Step 4- Wash Off The Lima Beans Thoroughly
The water you have soaked the lima beans in will be cloudy, and you need to discard it and rinse the beans at least three times or until the water turns clear. Drain the beans well.
Step 5- Prepare The Lima Beans For Cooking
Take a pot or saucepan, place the lima beans in it and cover them with fresh water. In fact, there should be at least one inch of water above the lima beans.
Step 6- Cook The Lima Beans
Set the stovetop to medium heat and bring the beans to boil. The time needed cannot be predetermined as it is influenced by the temperature and size and amount of lima beans cooking so do watch the pot all the time and wait for a boil.
Once the content boils, allow it to simmer for up to an hour or until tender. Stir during this time as to prevent sticking or burning.
Step 7- Finish Off
Once you make sure that your lima beans are cooked (you can do this by mashing them you’re your fingers or with a fork), strain the remaining water, and you can serve them. It is now an ideal time to season your beans with salt or add some other flavorings such as tomato juice or vinegar.
Adding the above-mentioned flavorings earlier in the process would have prevented the lima beans from absorbing water and slow down or hinder the cooking process.
How To Eat Fresh Lima Beans When Cooked
When cooked in the manner we have suggested, lima beans become a great addition to any soup or meat dish you make. However, there are numerous other options how to eat fresh lima beans when cooked. For example, you can add them to your fresh salad and drizzle with some olive oil and lemon juice- this combo is divine!
You can eat them on their own too. Once again season them with oil and lemon juice, sprinkle some crushed red pepper and Parmesan cheese and enjoy a simple and nutritious meal that will help you stay fit and healthy!
Our recipes are simple and basic, but you can search for numerous other recipes that will be a breeze to prepare now you know how to cook fresh lima beans successfully.