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Jun 22, 2008 08:07 AM

Dried Lima Beans

So, I have a pot of dried, large lima beans soaking on my stove for tonight's dinner (to be honest, these look more like butter beans, but the package says they are limas). My husband just took a look at them they the skins are all wrinkled and split - they look like a pan of mushrooms. Is this normal?

I've never cooked dried limas before, and am not sure what they are supposed to look like as they are soaking. I'm wondering if they are too old to use.... I can't remember when I bought them- but they could have been sitting my my cupboard for the past year or so.

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  1. You're right, they ARE butter beans, and have a creamier, milder flavor (similar to chickpeas) than the frozen green lima beans. There are a number of varieties of bean that are called lima (see Wikipedia articles on lima and butter beans). What do you plan to do with them? As a side dish, I'd be inclined to simmer them gently (since they have split) till tender, perhaps in stock, then gently brown them in melted butter with herbs and/or garlic. Frankly, the only way I ever cook them is the lima bean/lamb shank soup my mother always made. She never soaked them first. The fact that they split meant there was enough starch to thicken the soup - in fact, you had to remove it from the heat while it was still a little thin, since it thickened a lot once cooled. Sear a big lamb shank, add lots of chopped onion and celery, water, a pound of beans, garlic, S&P. When meat is almost falling off the bone, add diced carrots and simmer till they're done. Remove meat from bones, shred, and return to pot.
    Don't worry about how old they are - they'll be fine.