In this era of fashionably colorful and flavorful super foods, perhaps the lima bean has been forgotten, but it still remains one of the richest sources of important nutrients, and a most versatile ingredient to keep in your kitchen. This legume is often taken for granted, however, in my opinion it should be promoted to super food alongside the many others.
One cup of lima beans contains 216 calories, 15 grams of protein, and 13 grams of fermentable dietary fiber. They are very low in sodium, and fat while being a good source of iron, thiamin, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and manganese and molymbdenum. Beans are believed to improve cardiovascular health, blood glucose control and the general health of the gastrointestinal tract. There is no doubt that eating a plant based diet is known to have numerous health benefits.
Beans are such an important source of nutrients that the USDA school meals regulation requires them to be included in school menus at least once a week. Because the flavor of Lima beans is so mild I have found Lima beans to be well accepted by most children and adults and they can be incorporated in a variety of dishes; salads, soups, or stews.
Like other major legumes, Lima beans is one of the ancient cultivated crops. Lima pods are believed to be originated in the tropical fertile valleys of Central America as wild cultivars and domesticated by native Mayans and Aztecs and later by Incas as a staple source of protein.
Today you can buy Lima beans inexpensively and in several forms - fresh, dried, small (baby beans), large. In the US markets, fresh green Limas hit the market by July. Fresh-frozen, dried, canned, or roasted beans can also be readily available in the stores across the US. While buying fresh Lima pods from the local vegetable markets, look for just mature, green, plump, and firm pods. You may also purchase fresh or frozen bean seeds from the grocery. Avoid sunken, shriveled pods as the beans convert their sugars into starch. Similarly, dried or canned beans too lack sweet flavor, as they are defi in vitamin-C in addition to simple sugars. Fresh tender lima beans feature smooth, pale green color while their color changes to white or cream yellow one they dried. Once at home, store unshelled beans in a perforated plastic bag and place inside 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.
If you're like me you'll be growing lima beans right now inside. You can then start eating them as soon as they sprout (Lima bean sprouts), and when the weather warms up take the young plants outdoors and plant. There is nothing better than to pick a bunch of tender, crunchy, succulent baby lima bean pods early in the morning and have them as your pre-breakfast snack.