Despite their obvious greenity

It has been several years since I bothered to dish up a serving of lima beans, and apparently it’s unusual for a civilian to get near the things:

My theory is that they’re sold exclusively to prison cooks, school cafeteria cooks, and people who like to let canned goods ripen in their pantries before giving them to the food banks. And maybe parents who hate their kids. I bet Joan Crawford made her kids eat Lima beans all the time.

Or maybe it’s this:

Like many legumes, the seemingly innocent lima bean should not be eaten raw — doing so can be lethal. (And who wants to die in such an ignoble way as death by lima bean?) Also known as butter beans, the legumes can contain a high level of cyanide, which is part of the plant’s defense mechanism.

Which, of course, mandates some precautionary measures:

[L]ima beans should be cooked thoroughly, and uncovered to allow the poison to escape as gas. Also, drain the cooking water to be on the safe side.

This is probably the point at which I said “Screw it, I’m having Brussels sprouts instead.”

Then again, I have the advantage of not being a cardiac patient.


  1. McGehee »

    19 December 2013 · 3:39 pm

    Hard work and lima beans never killed anyone in my family, but why take the chance?

  2. jsallison »

    19 December 2013 · 5:48 pm

    I tolerate them when mixed with other veggies in soups and succotash, of the sufferin’ sort. Saw some interesting Brussels sprouts treatments on old episodes of Good Eats, but not enough to get me to try em…

  3. CGHill »

    19 December 2013 · 6:14 pm

    Try grilling the sprouts. Expunges a lot of that cabbage-y texture.

  4. Tatyana »

    20 December 2013 · 12:11 pm

    I love lima beans! If they were not the most expensive legumes in the “frozen” section I’d bought them all the time. They have the most delicate taste when sauteed with butter and a sprig of rosemary, and their size is pleasant – bigger than usual beans, so you can actually bite into them.

  5. CGHill »

    20 December 2013 · 1:04 pm

    I don’t have any aesthetic objections to them — I polished off several metric tons of succotash in my day — but it never occurs to me to buy them for some reason.

  6. Nicole »

    21 December 2013 · 1:52 pm

    I knew there was a reason I put up a fight when expected to eat them as a child.

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