What are Lima Beans?

Lima Beans (Phaseolus lunatus)

Originally thought to originate from Brazil, a wild, primitive form of lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus) (also, known as butter beans) has been recently discovered in Guatemala, leading scientists to believe that the bean’s origins may actually lie there. The name “lima bean” originated from the discovery of the bean by European explorers in Lima, Peru. Its development includes three main courses of travel:

  • First, through Mexico into our Southwest, then over to Florida and up toward Virginia.
  • Second, down through Central America into Peru (this is where larger pods developed rather than typical lima beans of North America).
  • Ans, finally, eastward through the West Indies and Southward toward South America.

Lima beans are one of those foods I have always eaten but did not really appreciate, until, I started living in Texas where these heat-loving drought-tolerant beans thrived.  This hearty bean, despite their reputation, can be very flavorful and bountiful.