How to Freeze Lima Beans

How To Freeze Lima Beans

If you have grown bush type lima beans, you likely have more lima beans and you can consume since the bush type lima beans mature over a short period of time and stop growing. If you have grown pole type lima beans, the plants will continue to produce, potentially until frost. It is easy to learn how to freeze lima beans so that you can have them during the winter as vegetables, or in stews or soup. Freezing lima beans is the safest and easiest way to preserve them, since it takes no special equipment or knowledge.

Lima beans, or Phaseolus lunatus, have been consumed in different parts of the world for at least 4000 years. In most parts of the world, lima beans are not differentiated from butter beans, but in the southern part of United States, there is a differentiation. There, the Sieva type of bean is usually called butter beans, which are also known as P. lunatus var. macrocarpus, or as P. limensis. Butter beans are large, flat, and yellow while lima beans are smaller and green. While the most familiar lima beans are an off-white, there are also pink, brown, beige, black, and speckled lima beans.(1)

According to the USDA, one half cup of lima beans is a serving and should not be eaten raw. Lima beans are an excellent source of fiber, protein, molybdenum, tryptophan, copper, vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin C, iron, magnesium, potassium, and manganese.

The process of blanching, or boiling for a few minutes stops the enzymes from breaking down vegetables and kills harmful bacteria. Submerging the beans into cold water quickly stops the cooking process so that the beans do not become overcooked.

How to Freeze Lima Beans: Steps

You can reuse the water for several batches, but add extra hot water to the pot and more ice to the bowl between batches. Work in small batches, a pound or less, so that adding them to the hot water will not cool down the water too much.

  • Harvest lima beans while the pod is still green but the beans have developed inside.
  • Fill a large pot two thirds full of water and place it on your hottest burner turned to high.
  • Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
  • Wash the pods under cool running water.
  • Shell the beans by inserting your thumb in the slit and sliding beans out.
  • Sort beans according to small, medium, and large.
  • Blanch small beans for 2 minutes.
  • Blanch medium beans for 3 minutes.
  • Blanch large beans for 4 minutes.
  • Use a slotted spoon or the pasta insert for your pot to lower beans into the boiling water.
  • Remove beans from boiling water and immediately submerge them in the cold water until thoroughly cooled, about 5 minutes.
  • Label freezer containers or plastic bags with the name and date using a water proof marker.
  • Fill freezer containers, leaving a half inch of space on top. If using freezer bags, get as much air out of the bag of possible to help prevent freezer burn.

Lima beans will store in the freezer for up to a year, after which they will not be harmful but will not taste as good as fresher beans.

(1) Wikipedia contributors. "Phaseolus lunatus." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 27 Dec. 2011. Web. 3 Jan. 2012.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phaseolus_lunatus

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Cooking Lima Beans

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