From The Plant Encyclopedia
Lima Bean, Haba bean, Pallar bean, Burma bean, Guffin bean, Hibbert bean, Sieva bean, Rangoon bean, Madagascar bean, Paiga, Paigya, prolific bean, civet bean, sugar bean, Etchells Bean or đậu ngự
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5 - 20
- Cultivation: For-Gardeners
- Light: Sun
- Soil: Rich
- pH: 7
- Moisture: Medium, Well-Drained
- Form: Groundcover, Herbaceous
- Habit: Annual
- Flower: Small
- Fruit/Seed: Medium, Green
- Foliage: Leaves, Green
- Uses: Edible, Industrial
Origin and uses
The P. lunatus is of Andean and Mesoamerican origin. Two separate Domestication events are believed to have occurred. The first, taking place in the Andes around 2000 BC, produced a large-seeded variety (Lima type), while the second, taking place most likely in Mesoamerica around AD 800, produced a small-seeded variety (Sieva type). By 1301, cultivation had spread to North America, and in the sixteenth century the plant arrived and began to be cultivated in the Eastern Hemisphere.
The small-seeded wild form (Sieva type) is found distributed from Mexico to Argentina, generally below 1600 meters above sea level, while the large-seeded wild form (Lima type) is found distributed in the north of Peru, between 320 and 2030 meters above sea level.
The Moche Culture (1-800 AD) cultivated all of the lima beans and often depicted them in their art. During the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru, lima beans were exported to the rest of the Americas and Europe, since the boxes of such goods had their place of origin labeled "Lima - Peru", the beans got named as such.
The term butter bean is widely utilized for a large, flat and white variety of lima bean (P. lunatus var. macrocarpus, or P. limensis).
In the Southern United States the Sieva type are traditionally called butter beans, also otherwise known as the Dixie or Henderson type. In that area, lima beans and butter beans are seen as two distinct types of beans.
In the United Kingdom, "butter beans" refer to either dried beans which can be purchased to re-hydrate or the canned variety which are ready to use. In culinary use, lima beans and butter beans are distinctly different, the former being small and green, the latter large and yellow. In areas where both are considered to be lima beans, the green variety may be labeled as "baby" (and less commonly "junior") limas.
Both bush and pole (Vine) varieties exist, the latter from one to four meters in height. The bush varieties mature earlier than the pole varieties. The pods are up to 15 cm long. The mature seeds are 1 to 3 cm long and oval to kidney shaped. In most varieties the seeds are quite flat, but in the "potato" varieties the shape approaches spherical. White seeds are common, but black, red, orange and variously mottled seeds are also known. The immature seeds are uniformly green. Lima beans typically yield 2900 to 5000 kilograms of seed and 3000 to 8000 kilograms of Biomass per hectare.
- Henderson/Thorogreen, 65 days
- Eastland, 68 days
- Baby Fordhook, 70 days
- Fordhook 242, 75 days, 1945 AAS winner
- Giant Speckled/Christmas/Speckled Calico, 78 days
- Big 6/Big Mama, 80 days
- King of the Garden, 85 days
Lima beans, like many other legumes, are a good source of dietary fiber, and a virtually fat-free source of high quality protein.
Lima beans contain both soluble fiber, which helps regulate blood sugar levels and lowers cholesterol, and insoluble fiber, which prevents Constipation, digestive disorders, Irritable bowel syndrome and Diverticulitis.
The high fiber content in Lima beans prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after eating them.
This is due to the presence of large amounts of absorption-slowing Etchells in the beans, and their high soluble fiber content. Soluble fiber absorbs water in the stomach forming a gel that slows down the metabolism of the bean's carbohydrates.
They can therefore help balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy, which makes them a good choice for people with diabetes suffering with insulin resistance.
Soluble fiber binds with the bile acids that form cholesterol and, because it is not absorbed by the intestines, it exits the body taking the bile acids with it. As a result, the cholesterol level is lowered.
They may therefore help to prevent heart disease, and may reduce the medical dosage required to combat cholesterol in the form of natural food.
Lima beans also provide folate and magnesium. Folate lowers levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that is an intermediate product in an important metabolic process called the Methylation cycle. Elevated blood levels of homocysteine are an independent risk factor for heart attack, stroke, and Peripheral vascular disease.
The magnesium content of lima beans is a calcium channel blocker. When enough magnesium is present veins and arteries relax, which reduces resistance and improves the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.
Apart from providing slow-burning complex carbohydrates, lima beans can increase energy levels by helping to restore more iron. For menstruating women, who are more at risk of iron deficiency, lima beans can provide iron, an integral component of hemoglobin—hemoglobin transports oxygen from the lungs to all body cells, and is also part of key enzyme systems for energy production and metabolism.
Lima beans are a very good source of the trace mineral manganese, and help enzymes important for energy production and antioxidant defense.
Lima beans contain the trace mineral molybdenum, which is an integral component of the enzyme sulfite oxidase, and which detoxifies sulfites, a preservative often added to prepared foods.
Raw lima beans and butter beans ce handful of raw beans can make a person violently ill. The beans are rendered safe when cooked. Low-linamarin varieties are typically used for culinary purposes.