Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Lima Beans- Not Your Ordinary Phaseolus vulgaris

The beautiful and unusual Christmas Lima

Which would you rather eat, a dish made with lima beans or butter beans? Most people would agree that “butter bean” has a delicious ring to it, and that lima beans are notoriously yucky. In fact for many people lima beans conjure up an image of pasty, horrible beans that were part of a frozen vegetable medley served in school cafeterias, or worse yet came from a can.

And you may have guessed what I’m going to tell you next: butter beans are lima beans. Unless you are from the southern USA, this may surprise you. And in case you think beans are all alike and interchangeable, lima beans, or P lunatus, are a separate species from the common bean, P. vulgaris, and were named after the capital of Peru, Lima. They have their origins in the New World as common beans do, but they were domesticated far earlier. Similar to common beans, limas were also cultivated by Native Americans before the colonists arrived and were eventually introduced into Europe...

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