Friday, September 9, 2011

Lima Beans

This year I grew lima beans. On purpose. They're also known as butter beans or butter peas.

I can't remember if they were seeds I purchased myself or got from my garden guru. They were called 'White Dixie Butter' and I find it hard to resist anything with butter in the name, especially a bean. I planted them fairly late compared to the other beans since I planned on picking them as shell beans and didn't worry too much about them reaching the dry stage. I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to them, just noticing that they'd bloomed and that pods were forming. Then a few days ago I finally looked up when they should be harvested. I read that they are good when the pods are fatter but not too yellow. Next time I was in the garden I pinched a few pods and could feel the little tell-tale bumps but they weren't what I would call fat. Then I noticed that some pods were dry and brown and a few had been chewed by pests. Popping open one of the fatter pods I was reminded that lima beans are flat compared to the other beans I grow. I looked over the small patch and decided rather than go over them every day or two looking for all the "just right" pods that enough were ripe or beyond. In cut all the plants at the base and brought them home. It was much more comfortable sitting on the deck stripping the pods off the plant than it would have been crouched in the garden.

The co-conspirator pitched in sorting the dry from the fresh pods--which included a number of under-ripe ones and we got to work shelling. In the end, knowing how many seeds I planted that actually grew into plants that produced beans and how much we ended up with I calculated a yield of nearly one hundred-twenty five times what was planted. Had I not wasted some that weren't ripe that number doubtless would have been higher! It occurred to me that the quick bean counting I did a while back was in error. I didn't account for the fact that not all the bush beans planted grew and produced. Beans are often touted as one of the most productive crops you can grow. I know I'm convinced.

"Pick 'em, hull 'em, put on the steam. That's how we fix butterbeans!"

1 Responses (Leave a Comment):

Michigoose said...

Wow. Good bean counting, Mark! I grow scarlet runner and hyacinth beans, but I've yet to eat them. :?

Loved the video...never heard this one before...of course I seem to remember butter beans being cooked with bacon and onion...doesn't everything in the midwest end up being cooked with bacon and onion????