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May 3, 2006 01:42 AM

Why are lima beans so universally hated?

  • v

I'm doing a little bean research and was trying to discover why people so often say they hate lima beans. It's almost a cliche really (I hate phony, mean people, brussels sprouts, liver and lima beans). Seriously, I did a search online on why people hate lima beans and there's tons of references just like that, but nobody says WHY. I like lima beans so I have no idea. Any of you hounds know why the bad rap for the nice lima?

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  1. j
    Jim Washburn

    I can only speculate that most people who hate limas were first exposed to beans out of a can. Same for spinach, asparagus, etc. I had the good fortune to be born into a family in which fresh vegetables were preferred, and cans were opened only seldom. I have loved limas since I was a wee little kid.


    2 Replies
    1. re: Jim Washburn

      And many people have never experienced the silken deliciousness of dried baby lima beans....

      1. re: Jim Washburn

        I was thinking the same thing--and that canned limas were perhaps extremely terrible.

        Do you think that canned lima beans are worse than canned versions of other beans? I don't think canned kidney beans or chickpeas make people say they hate kidney beans and chickpeas.

      2. I don't know - I've always loved them, even as a child - perhaps the "haters" have had them overcooked.

        1. g
          gail o'connor

          I'm a lima bean hater.

          My mother, who has never been an enthusiastic cook, used to serve us frozen mixed vegetables at least once a week. Carrots, green beans, peas, corn, and lima beans. I didn't mind the other vegetables, but I hated the lima beans.

          For me, it's the texture. They're sort of grainy and dry on the tongue.

          3 Replies
          1. re: gail o'connor

            Yes yes exactly.. the texture and a bit of the taste though mostly the texture.

            Yech. Can't do the lima bean thing. Love brussel sprouts though :)

            1. re: gail o'connor

              i was served the same frozen vegetable medley.

              mealy is the term i've always used.

              1. re: gail o'connor

                Try dried baby lima beans (they are white, not green). When rehydrated and cooked properly (I love to make succotash with fresh corn with them), they have a silken texture and better flavor than frozen beans.

              2. n
                Niki Rothman

                I think I know why people hate lima beans. I honestly don't know what tense, busy parents are serving their kids for dinner these days (KFC?), but when I was a kid the vegetable side dishes at dinner all came straight out of a can or little square freezer box. They were just plain boiled until over-cooked and repulsively inedible. Prepared this way lima beans are the vegetable from hell. In the canned form they even have a kind of unique metallic aftertaste.

                It's really too bad. Lima beans, and their big brother butter beans, can be really wonderful when slow cooked with meats, onions and garlic, or when included in a thick vegetable soup. But when I was a kid, and I suspect for a lot of other people who profess to hate lima beans, it's a matter of post traumatic stress disorder. When you think about lima beans it's not images of unctuous meaty/beany cassoulet that spring to mind, but rather boiled, tinny, canned lima beans enmeshed with memories of working mom's rushed, tense weeknight dinners from your childhood.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Niki Rothman

                  Yup. Nasty overcooked boiled frozen limas. Had to choke them down. I'd probably like fresh ones now, but I never see them. Love them dried. Baby frozen are OK in stews and such.

                  1. re: Aromatherapy

                    Fresh limas, which I've only had once -- from my CSA last summer, are truly truly the best thing I have ever eaten. The husband and I fought over them they were so good.

                2. I think for a lot of people, it comes from the frozen vegetable mixes that featured green beans, peas, carrots, corn, and lima beans. The first four all cook in about the same amount of time, but the lima beans, to be really good, need to cook a little longer. Hence, when all the other veggies were cooked just right, the limas would be undercooked.