Cooking lima beans

Cooking lima beans means just pod them and pop them into boiling water. They are a daily delight, a wonderful source of vegetable protein, lasting for four months every year, starting in late summer and continuing right through autumn and into early winter.

I do not know about your neck of the woods, but I have never seen fresh lima beans on sale. There are three possible reasons that I can think of. The growing season is long; at least two months. Then reaping them is time-consuming. And thirdly, podding them is finicky.

Actually, I am exaggerating, but it means a change of thinking. It takes perhaps five minutes to reap 20 pods, which I do every morning in the season. I now call it a walk in the Garden Cathedral, a time of relaxation, rather than a chore.

Pods of lima beans on the plant just waiting to be cooked.

This page was last updated by Bernard Preston on 6th April, 2023.

And the good wife has figured out a new method so that shelling large green beans is no longer finicky; again it takes about five minutes.

So, if you want to make suffering succotash and enjoy the most delicious green legume, then you have to learn about growing lima beans.

They are definitely my favourite bean in the garden, partly because they can be cooked in just five minutes and the flavour is without equal. They go on bearing for months.

Reaping and podding them used to be a laborious business. But now my granddaughter adores giving me a hand; she loves finding the beans after I have split them open.

And she is learning about doing things with her Baa, the value of slow food, and how to grow lima beans; and that other lifestyle that so many of us in the West have deserted, to the peril of both our bodies and souls.

Rather than visit the psychologist and swallow pills for your stresses and anxieties, try growing lima bean plants. They will slow you down, and bring joy and contentment. It is a variation on a theme known as forest bathing.

Yes, the shelling is a slow business. But you know, the things you and a four-year old can chat about over a pod is priceless. For me certainly, and for her too, I suspect.

Grandparents have more time for the mites than their busy mums and dads. 

Soon we will be poring over the lima beans soup recipe. Already she is learning to type on my lap, send emails, and copy and paste photos; have you time for your grandchildren?

Toss them into a pot, cover with boiling water and bring to the boil, and simmer until tender; about five minutes.

And now the mess of pottage has a rich flavour without equal; but you will have to wait for the lima beans soup recipe.

Podding lima beans is not difficult, before cooking, but like knitting can be done whilst chatting to a friend; children can easily do it.

You are unlikely to have someone ask you at a cocktail party if you have had adequate molybdenum today, a trace element, like you might be quizzed over your vitamin C or zinc.

However, molybdenum is, along with zinc, selenium and copper, vitally necessary for utilization of oxygen in the cell, DNA and RNA reproduction, destruction of the free radicals that cause malignant disease and sustaining the integrity of all cell membranes.

More interestingly, lima beans contain a significant amount of L-dopa, a precursor of the neurotransmitter that is in short supply in those suffering from Parkinson's disease.

However, broad beans are even better, and more controlled studies have been done; for most folk two tablespoons per day would suffice.


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Cooking lima beans

Cooking lima beans is the real blessing of this nutritious living food; much more than suffering succotash.

Lima beans about to be cooked in the pot.

A deficiency causes vague symptoms like malaise; I am just not feeling well. Loss of appetite and low-level obscure neurological symptoms like tingling in arms and hands which are very difficult to diagnose are not uncommon.

On the other hand, toxicity from too much of these minerals also causes serious illness with flu-like symptoms, odd Central Nervous system signs and nausea; diarrhoea and anemia too. These are equally difficult to diagnose. The rule of thumb is get most of your nutrients from your food, eating from as wide a spectrum of foods as possible.

Then you cannot overdose like you are able with supplements.

Lima beans simmering in a pot.

Lima beans are particularly rich in molybdenum.

Half a cup of lima beans contain 100% of your molybdenum daily requirements.

Now try out lima bean soup.

Vegetable protein

Legumes are the best source of vegetable protein; cooking lima beans gives you access to this lovely food that enables you to reduce your dependence on red meat.

Half a cup of lima beans contains one sixth of your daily protein need, a quarter of your fibre, and is rich in other important minerals such as iron and magnesium, vitamins such as folate and 10 percent of the thiamine we need; vitamin B1, a deficiency of which causes generalised muscle weakness.

Copy and paste "vegetable high in protein" into this search engine for more information.

Lima bean soup.

Enjoyed in succotash with a mealie a day and you have a very large amount of fibre; it's a low GI meal. In America it is corn.

"Beans, beans are good for the heart
The more you eat them the more you fart!
The more you fart the better you feel
So eat your beans with every meal."

- Neenah's son (4 years old)

There are many different varieties of lima beans; yes, indeed they come from South America. Spanish conquistadors wrote not only of the abundant silver found in Peru, but also of the delicious legumes that grew; nutritious living direct from the very deep south.

When growing limas avoid those with pink veins; they are rather tasteless and starchy, but the little green ones are my favourite. They are very sweet and of course perfect for your sufferin' succotash recipe; a delicious and nutritious corn and beans recipe.

Fried onions and lima beans

Are beans fattening?

I love to fry half an onion in butter with a little chilli, perhaps some chopped tomato, and then add the limas and other beans such as these favas. After it is sizzling, add a little water and simmer for five minutes.

Then you can toss some greens like broccoli or spinach in; poach an egg on top and it makes a magnificent meal. You've just made a lima bean shakshuka.

Cooking lima beans is not difficult.


Lima beans are low in carbohydrate and fat but have a significant amount of protein.

In half a cup of beans there are

  • 16g carbohydrate, much of it cellulose that passes through the small intestine to feed the microbiome; it certainly produces no glucose and consequent insulin rush.
  • Less than a gram of fat
  • Over 5g of protein
  • A large amount of fibre. That is the stuff that helps you re-establish the intestinal microbes; without them we cannot be strong, vigorous and resistant to disease.

They have an astonishing subsequent meal effect[1], lowering blood glucose not only after the current meal, but also after those later in the day. This explains the satiety or feeling satisfied that is supplied by whole grains and legumes; one does not need to snack or reach for a cola.

Nitrogen fixation

Growing and cooking lima beans does your garden, as well as you, a great favour. Legumes have biological nitrogen fixation bacteria attached to their roots, obviating the need for artificial fertilisers. The element is the foundation of the amino acids that are the building blocks of the protein in your body, and all living animal tissue. 

choice foods

Enjoying a wide range of meals, perhaps including cooking lima beans, is the only way to make sure we are not deficient in some unknown mineral, vitamin or phytonutrient. It is impossible to go chasing after each one of these. Could I be short of molybdenum? It's an absurd thought and we should rather be concentrating on choice foods on a daily basis.

Particularly at this page on green beans, look out for the report from the woman's initiative on the grave dangers of taking post-menopausal hormones; tumours, leaking bladders and early senile dementia.

Did you find this page useful? Then perhaps forward cooking lima beans to a fellow book or earth-worm.

His and hers

His and her daily pills.Nope, not for me or the good wife.

Is a life without medication really on the cards? Is it just a pipe-dream? It is such a pleasure in our eighth decade to be taking absolutely no drugs. It's never too late to start on the green journey. Growing and cooking lima beans is one tiny part of the whole, but important. In any case they are so tasty.

Bernard Preston

Barrie Lewis, also known as Bernard Preston.

Bernard Preston is a semi-retired DC with a background in physics and organic chemistry; he is passionate about preserving the environment for our grandchildren. He collects and stores solar power and rainwater; grows organic fruit and vegetables. He finds keeping chickens and bees so rewarding. He is the author of four books.

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