Just a short note on beans.
I’ve looked and looked and still can’t find much in the way of lima beans. Not canned. Not dry. Not frozen. Not why.
I did find a reference to an eastern coastal area that still has a lima bean festival but no longer grows them as they planted houses instead. Another in Washington State that said very high grain prices had farmers swapping from lower profit lima beans over to grains. But those are just two small local stories. Another food forum had folks complaining about the present shortage, but also saying limas have had this cycle before.
So what to do?
Well, I did find some dry large limas at Walmart some weeks back, and a local Italian Grocery had canned “Butter Beans” (large white limas) from Italy, so I scored a bunch of them. But I really like the little green ones too, canned or frozen. Big and little are two different cultivars with somewhat different flavors. But going forward? Who knows.
In searching, I did run across a link to a specialty farm growing variety beans. They list stores that they stock, and one is near me (even if a bit pricey). So when conditions permit, I’ll give them a try.
OnkleWillie jun 16, 201209:51 pm
I think that lima beans must be cyclical in availability. A few years back you couldn’t find a lima bean of any type, fresh, frozen or dried, large or small, here in the DFW area for almost two years. The store managers would just shrug their shoulders and walk away when asked about the lack of limas. Of course I noticed that limas rank pretty high on the recent list of Least Favorite Vegetables.
I have always used large limas for cassolet but have recently switched to White Emergo Beans. They cook up about a third larger than large limas and have a great flavor and texture. Somewhat hard to find and they take forever to cook (2 ½ – 3 hours) unless you use a pressure cooker. Zursun Ltd. is the grower.
Then further down another person posted a link to their site:
Which has a listing of stores that carry their products:
The following specialty food stores sell Zürsun Idaho Heirloom Beans.
Please contact us if you would like to buy our beans and cannot find a store near you.
To buy online, please visit
LA Cuisine – The Cook’s Resource
323 Cameron St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
Followed by a very long list, by State, of stocking stores. One of which is just a mile or two away.
I’ve also gone into my seed fridge and pulled out a jar of Christmas Limas I grew a few years back. Some of them are now soaking, to be planted out when they sprout. These are a very nice large speckled lima. Taste was richer, but similar to other large limas, so I’d not made them a frequent grow when limas were plentiful and cheap in the stores. But things change… BTW, Zursun Beans also carries them.
The alluring burgundy mottled, chestnut-flavored Christmas Lima is part of Peru’s heirloom bean lineage. Serve cooked limas as an appetizer, side dish or main course embellished with butter, garlic and fresh parsley.
I think I got my original stock from Seed Savers Exchange:
Christmas Lima Bean
Phaseolus lunatus | SKU: 0607
Lima Bean, Christmas
$3.25 to $75.00
Seeds grow to the size of a quarter
Bears even during extreme heat
Shelling and dry bean
SELECT SIZE Packet 50 seeds 1 lb 5 lbs 10 lbs
Also known as Large Speckled Calico, this variety was first cultivated in the United States around 1840 and produces beautiful, quarter-sized, flat white seeds with maroon spots and swirls. It has rich flavor and can be used as a shell lima or dry. Heavy yields, bears even during extreme heat. Pole habit, 75-100 days. ±360 seeds/lb
Instructions- Lima beans thrive in hot temperatures. Sow seeds outdoors after danger of frost has passed and soil and air temperatures have warmed. Seeds will germinate in 7-18 days. Limas prefer full sun.
So $3.50 for enough to get growing, or $75 for 10 lbs and a small farm.
They are a bit slow to grow, and being big need poles or fences to climb.
I have also grown Jackson Wonder and will start some of them, too. IIRC, they started to thrive when I watered more. Grown in a pot with afternoon shade, keeping some water in the tray for the pot to wick up helped a lot in my semi-desert summers. Faster at 75 days, and a bush type.
JACKSON WONDER BUSH LIMA
87% of 100 6 Reviews Add Your Review
(lima bean) 75 days. Introduced in 1888 by David Landreth & Sons. Heavy yields of small-to-medium-sized, tan and purple to brown- speckled beans. Pods can also be cooked when young.
Availability: In stock
Minimum Seed Count: 40
In some ways I liked the Jackson wonder more for faster yield and smaller space, but big trellised plants are more fun and often have longer periods of yield.
I’m pretty sure I’ll grow both this year…
What the Marketeers remove from shelves, the self reliant make for themselves. The Lima Bean Resistance marches on! 8-)