Strange Beans : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread

I recently bought some lima beans at the Pig, and I noticed they were a little fatter than usual. I tried to cook them, and after two hours they were still hard. As a last resort I put them in the blender, then cooked them for another 15 minutes. They were alright, but I had to drink them with a straw!. Any thoughts on the problem?. Thanks, Walter.

-- Walter Bright (, November 17, 1999


The only strange Bean here is you Walter.

-- Dan Newsome (, November 17, 1999.

soaking them overnight before you cook them? that is the way my family always dealt with dried beans.

-- tt (, November 17, 1999.

Thanks, but I soak all dried beans overnight, then drain before cooking. This also reduces gas. These beans have a slightly different look. They are thicker than usual, and they don't wrinkle when soaked. Any more ideas?. Thanks, Walter.

-- Walter Bright (, November 17, 1999.

Sounds like they were a larger variety of lima bean than you're used to. Next time cook longer. Did they soak up all the water they were in overnight? If so, use more water next time to help soften and make sure there's plenty in the cooking pot as well. And that they simmer the whole time - could your heat have been too low?

-- Jill D. (, November 17, 1999.

Could they be fava beans? Were they bulk, or bagged? What is "the Pig"?

-- Ron Schwarz (, November 17, 1999.

There are at least several varieties of lima beans on the market and I suppose you could have gotten one of the larger. Two hours for dry beans (even when they've been soaked) is not all that much time for the larger legumes.

I suspect from your description that your beans developed a condition known as "hardshell." This means that no matter how much your soak or cook them they're not going to soften up. The only way to deal with it is just what you did, break up the beans. They can still be used as thickeners in soups and stews, added to baked goods like breads, used as a spread (akin to refried beans) and more, if you put your mind to it. Rita Bingham in her Country Beans cook book discusses extensively the use of ground beans. They also cook very quickly when ground, a potentially important consideration for those of you who'll have limited fuel.

Another poster asked if they might have been fava beans? Were the beans a dark tan to brown color, broad and fairly flat? If so, they may well have been fava beans (also known as broad beans or horse beans). The skins on those things are very tough and you can cook them nearly until Hell freezes over before they'll soften. They're usually peeled and made into a puree or paste. Pretty common in European and Middle Eastern cuisine and much less so here in the States.


The Prudent Food Storage FAQ, v3.5

-- A.T. Hagan (, November 17, 1999.

It may not have been a factor, but a good tip anyway--do not salt beans until they have softened in the cooking process. Salting toughens the skin and prolongs cooking time.

-- Old Git (, November 17, 1999.

Got charcoal biscuits ????????????

-- Phew (goats@upinthe, November 17, 1999.

Did you try planting them?

Fee fi fo fum......

-- anon (anon@anon.calm), November 17, 1999.

Old beans are often so hard that takes forever to cook them soft enough to eat. Make sure your source is as fresh as possible if you intend to use them for storage.

-- Kenin Marble (, November 20, 1999.

Plant fava beans early in the year so the honeybees will have flowers for nectar and pollen before the usual crops are flowering. This is a tip from Miles Stair, whose book, "The Honey Factory" can make a beekeeper out of anyone. I recommend it MOST highly.

-- Liz Pavek (, November 21, 1999.

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