Sunday, September 24, 2006

Pole Limas

Completely fresh and in their shells at peak season, I found pole lima beans to be a pleasing departure from the more ubiquitous bush or Fordhook variety. Unless you grow them yourself, fresh pole limas are pretty much a rarity in the marketplace, particularly when sold in their shells. With any lima, if given a choice between shelled and unshelled, it's worth my time to shell them, especially pole limas. They're larger than most bush varieties, which means fewer beans per helping and fewer to shell. Even better, the shells are much larger than those of bush beans and a lot easier to split open. The pole limas pictured above were puchased yesterday at Downtown Baltimore's Sunday morning farmers market.

Very few recipes for fresh lima beans differentiate between pole or bush, which doesn't matter the recipe specifies baby limas. The basic preparation is to throw them in a saucepan of boiling salted water for eight to ten minutes, drain, and keep warm. After that, it's a matter of choice. For me, the addition of a little butter proved most satisfying.


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