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Old November 21, 2011   #1
halleone
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Default Christmas Lima Beans

I recently bought some Christmas Lima's at the health food store. I've never had them before; at $7.98 a pound, I sure would like to prepare them nicely. Any suggestions or recipes any of you have would be appreciated!

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Old December 15, 2011   #2
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Those are just the prettiest beans, aren't they? I bought them last year to grow in my garden and failed. Can't help you on cooking them, though.
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Old January 4, 2012   #3
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I grew them for the first time this year on a friend's recommendation. She claimed they tasted like chestnuts; she was right, they do. So keep that in mind when cooking them. I just throw some in soups, but I also boiled some when tasting for the first time, to get an idea of what they tasted like plain. Added a bit of butter, salt and pepper at the end. They sure were good.

Since I had never grown limas before, I was surprised my plants were alive so long. I had planted them back in May but they are still growing, and actually producing the most, now. I was so proud of my skills, till I realized why they are probably called CHRISTMAS limas--Duuuh!
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Old February 8, 2012   #4
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It's my understanding they're called Christmas beans because when they're used as a fresh shell bean, they're red and green, not red and white as the dried beans are.

Regardless, they're great!

Only way I've used them in cooking is to replace half the pinto beans in a big pot of my Chile with Brown Rice, with Christmas beans. I was absolutely astounded by the way the Christmas beans still retained their unique beany flavor, even after having soaked up all the spices, while the pinto beans always just sort of just meld in with all the other ingredients and lose their beaniness; which suits me fine, by the way, because pintos by themselves have a certain signature pinto bean flavor that I don't much care for.

The year I grew them, I was mostly just impressed by the vigor and hardiness of the plants. Not to mention their productivity.
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Old February 8, 2012   #5
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I grew "Christmas" in the early 90's, when I still lived in SoCal. We ate them as fresh shelled limas, and they were wonderful that way. Huge size, pretty color, wonderful flavor with just butter & salt. They were sometimes mixed with "King of the Garden" limas, which we also grew... but "Christmas" started bearing later.

Oh, how I took perfect weather for granted back then. Don't have much chance of success with "Christmas" in my present climate. That gave me an excuse, though, to look for shelly beans that would do better here than limas - and that's been a fun ride.
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Old October 1, 2012   #6
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This feels like a silly question: how do you know when they're ready to pick? Mine still look flattish, but some of the pods are already drying out. I assume you can't eat them pods and all at some stage? Only freshly shelled or dried? So how do you catch them when the beans are full size but they have not started to dry out? The pods have bean bumps, but the bumps are nowhere near as large as for any other beans.
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Old October 1, 2012   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by habitat_gardener View Post
The pods have bean bumps, but the bumps are nowhere near as large as for any other beans.
Limas in general are flat, so they can fool you if you are not used to them. But the answer to your problem is simple. Pick a green pod and shell it. Use that as an example.

PS Limas have a tendency to be smallish anyway if it is dry. Were you dry this year? I know mine were smaller than normal.
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Old October 1, 2012   #8
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it's always dry here in the summer, but I've been watering them the same as all the other beans: every 4-7 days -- it went to 7 days after I added a lot more mulch. They do seem a bit smaller than the ones I planted. Maybe.
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Old October 2, 2012   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by habitat_gardener View Post
This feels like a silly question: how do you know when they're ready to pick? Mine still look flattish, but some of the pods are already drying out. I assume you can't eat them pods and all at some stage? Only freshly shelled or dried? So how do you catch them when the beans are full size but they have not started to dry out? The pods have bean bumps, but the bumps are nowhere near as large as for any other beans.
I grew out a 12' row of them and they produced so well that we have enough for two years; I finally got tired of picking them, and expecting frost, pulled the vines. I let most of them get dry on the vine, to the point of them rattling in the pod. If left much beyond that, they split open and dump seeds all over. Before I yanked out the vines I did shell out some that were still green and fairly flat, but they turned out to be nice large shell beans that tasted very good.

Next year I think I'll try Good Mother Stallard; I have read they are a nice tasting, meaty bean, but would love to hear from anyone what they thought of them.
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Old October 3, 2012   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by habitat_gardener View Post
This feels like a silly question: how do you know when they're ready to pick?
The pods usually change color when ripe (most often to yellow), and turn somewhat translucent. This is easier to see if the vines are between you & the sun when you harvest. The pod below the stem will turn rubbery, so you can also judge ripeness by feel. This is the optimal stage for best color & flavor, and the pods are much easier to open when ripe than they are when picked green.
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Old October 4, 2012   #11
John3
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As far as cooking cook like blackeye peas (salt, pepper and little bacon) then serve with bake fish and bake fries
Also good just with cornbread.
Just a note Jackson Wonder bush beans are also good with fish they both have a nutty flavor that to me tastes good with fish.
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Old December 15, 2012   #12
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My Christmas Lima vines are still fully leafed out, long after all the other bean plants have dried up. And I saw new flowers on them! Since I planted only 10 beans, I have room to let them be and see how long they last. Nights have been as cold as high 30s; days 50s.
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Old December 15, 2012   #13
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Oh, bacon, fries and with fish. Can't get better than that!
We just had southern peas and collards with bacon. Actually had them as leftovers a couple of sayin a row. They get better the longer they cook.
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Old December 15, 2012   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tracydr View Post
We just had southern peas and collards with bacon. Actually had them as leftovers a couple of sayin a row. They get better the longer they cook.
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Old December 16, 2012   #15
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I ordered these from baker creek. Should do well here since
we have hot and steamy summers. Cowpeas grow very well
here. Steamed fresh with butter and salt, that sounds delish.
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