Limas from Lima

OK, sing along with me now….”If you loved limas, like I loved limas”….seriously I grew up on lima beans. The old-fashioned way. My Daddy had a BIG garden, about a quarter acre big, filled with corn, tomatoes, okra(‘bama, remember?), string beans, and yes, lima beans.
If you’ve never picked and shelled lima beans, I’m not gonna say you’ve really missed out, because honestly, it’s awful. I hated it. Picking limas is a dirty business…they grow low and close to the dirt…dirty to pick…matched only by the sheer fingernail ruining laboriousness of shelling them. Stick in two thumbnails, pull open shell, get out 3 lousy beans. Repeat. And repeat. But in spite of that, oh who knows, maybe because of it…. I love lima beans.

So at the JFX farmer’s market Sunday, when you see big coolers of already shelled lima beans(as well as black-eyed peas and butter beans), ready to cook and eat….who could resist? A woman stands behind the coolers and ladles them into plastic bags…she does this without talking and without smiling, and if she shelled all these by hand, I could understand that.
“Does a machine shell all these beans?”, I inquired, and she assured me they did, with a single…”Yes we have a machine.” (She probably thought this was an idiotic question, and I guess it kinda was….).
Anyway, took the limas home, cooked them wiith some olive oil and onions, and served them to lunch guests….what a great day for dining al fresco yesterday….a singularly perfect day for an outdoor lunch.
Not everyone was a lima bean fan….I was prepared for that, but one guest, Phil, loves limas. He not only ate several helpings, he carted the leftovers home. I’ll he honest, if I had shelled all those limas, no way would they have left the house, but since I know I can get more at the farmer’s market, generosity wasn’t hard. And if you’ve never had lima beans….$2.50 a pound at the farmer’s market….try them!


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