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A small Southern favorite

Are they butter beans or lima beans? Well, in fact, both are members of the same bean family but are different varieties. The butter bean is smaller than the lima bean. Their nutritional values are fairly equal and both exist as a cholesterol free food. What do you call this kidney-shaped bean that’s now in its prime growing season?

No one is quite sure how or why butter beans got their name, but the term was first recorded in the early 19th century. If you grew up in the South, the term butter bean, meaning the small green bean, was what it was. Lima beans are much bigger. The case is reversed when one travels north.

Lima beans have been cultivated in Peru for more than 7,000 years but are believed to have originated in Guatemala. Their name “lima” reflects the capital of Peru. The beans were introduced to the United States in the 19th century, with the majority now grown in California.

Fresh butter or lima beans are generally not widely available unless you have ...

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