Butter Bean Sprouts

Post last updated: August 13th, 2018

My butter beans sprouted in seven days and this is what they look like a day after they pop out of the soil. We Southerners do like our butter beans and ham.

Of course, the seed packet doesn’t refer to them as butter beans.  It drives me nuts, and admittedly I don’t have far to go, when I can easily find butter beans in a grocery store can (at least in the Southern USA) but not in a garden catalog. What kind of insanity is that? Why didn’t they give all the limas a different name – butter beans, green limas, and a name for that small white lima bean? I have short hair. I don’t need to be pulling it out trying to determine exactly what bean I need to order to get butter beans.

Best I could figger, from searching all over the web, was to order and grow “King of the Garden” Lima Beans.   I got mine from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. It helped that their catalog entry referred to them as “very LARGE white lima beans.” I knew that had to be the bean for which my southern heart was thumping. I ordered one seed packet and planted the whole packet of forty seeds in a 30 foot row. I could have used another five seeds because I had a little bit of row left over.

I have less gastric distress if I use dried beans versus canned. Thus, the whole point of growing butter beans is to experiment with making my own dried beans. I don’t always like the looks of the dried beans in the grocery store – sometimes they look old, broken, beat up or just plain filthy – so this is going to be one of those do-it-yourself projects. I found some decent directions at ifood for turning my crop into dried beans. We shall see what kind of success rate I have with my experiment.

34 thoughts on “Butter Bean Sprouts”

  1. Do you have gastric distress when you eat fresh Butter Beans? If you don’t you could probably freeze some of them and cook them when you are ready. Just a thought.

    1. Meta — Would you believe I’ve never eaten a fresh butter bean? I’ve never seen them in the grocery store and our farmer’s market does not excite me at all because I lived for a short time in Stone Mountain, GA and they had a FAB-U-LOUS farmer’s market. I don’t know whether I will get enough at one time from a 30 foot row to eat them fresh so I probably will have to freeze them. You are way ahead of me on thinking this through…

      1. Just wait, a 30 foot row of butter beans, if they make, will have you so tired of standing on your head picking them, you’ll want to pull the plants up halfway through the summer and throw them in the compost heap. The last time we grew them, we filled a five gallon bucket every couple days or so.

        By the way, don’t feed them to your neighbor’s pig. According to the farmers I know, pigs choke on the hulls..

        1. Nope, I’m not big on standing on my head picking anything because of my back injuries. The variety I bought, King of the Garden, grow 8 to 10 foot VINES and I’ve got the string ready and waiting for them to reach for it. The pig would turn his nose up at beans when he can get all the dog biscuits he wants from Mr. Golf Cart.

  2. My wife and I are transplants–my wife has lived nearly her whole adult life in FL–and the only butter beans I’ve had are frozen. I think they taste like lima beans but my wife insist butter beans are milder and tastier. She has eaten them fresh, as well, and she likes them best that way. Canned butter beans are only for hurricane preparedness. Now, to get on point, we both thought that butter beans were SMALLER than lima beans and my wife HAS seen butter bean seed packets, usually right next to the lima bean packets–she saw them at Home Depot and has seen them other places, all right here in the South.

    1. Kevan — Your wife is right. The butter beans are milder, tastier and BIGGER than green lima beans. I don’t know where ya’ll are getting them fresh! I have shopped the seed packet aisle at Home Depot, Lowes, Wal-Mart and Hall’s/Ace Hardware for the last few years and I have nevah seen butter beans. Maybe I need new eye glasses.

  3. Just found a website, Annie’s Heirloom Seeds. Annie carries/offers Florida speckled bean (a/k/a speckled butterbean), king of the garden lima bean, and–HENDERSON’S BUTTER BEAN–seeds:

    60-75 day. A bush baby lima bean. The first Henderson’s plants were found along the side of the road in Lynchburg, VA in 1883. It is early hardy, prolific, and drought tolerant. And it tastes great…

    Guess that’s why my wife always tells me that butter beans are “baby lima beans”…………

    Just an fyi for you and the rest of the gang…..

    1. No, no, no, this ain’t right. Butter beans are VERY LARGE lima beans. Drag out one of those hurricane preparedness cans of butter beans and open it up. Those beans are BIG. And the dried beans marked as “Large Lima Beans” cook up just like the canned butter beans (except better). Thus, you have proven the point I was making in my post — that we need different names for all these lima beans to avoid all the confusion in trying to get what you want. The Henderson’s Butter Beans at Annie’s Heirloom Seeds is the small baby lima beans and truthfully, I don’t know how they taste. The Speckled Butter Bean she mentions I have grown. They, too, are giant lima beans with brown spots but I didn’t eat them. Maybe I’ll grow them again this year and actually eat them. I grow some things just for the fun of it but never eat it.

  4. I think you should try some fresh, just to see how they taste. I bet wonderful. This naming thing drives me crazy, too. Try looking for cream peas or even purple hull peas. The name cow peas drives me crazy – that could also be black-eyed. Seems like they could at least put the common name in parenthesis.

    1. Holley — I’ll try some fresh butter beans if I succeed in growing them. All those peas have screwy names but here’s the thing. Most of them you can’t find in a grocery store, canned or frozen. I grew pinkeye purple hull peas last summer and they were wonderful! They loved the heat so I plan to grow a LOT of them this year and put some in the freezer. Have never seen them in the stores. I’ve seen “field” peas in a can (love ’em) but I don’t know what name garden catalogs use so how can I order seeds? Canned, they’ve already been processed so you have no idea what color they were originally. Again, drives me nuts.

  5. I love brown butter beans. I was grown before I realized that the green ones are considered butter beans, too.

    Field peas are also known as “white acre peas” and can be found, but we haven’t found any in Jacksonville. We grew them in Jasper and got them from Jasper Hardware.

    I like growing peas I don’t have to stand on my head to pick…but my husband still planted a row or two of butter beans in the garden this year.

        1. I’m not clear on what you are trying to tell me but last spring I did have a very large lima-like bean that was speckled. It was larger than the LARGE lima bean which is why I bought it. I like weird stuff. Anyway, I didn’t really want to eat it because there is a speckled bean I remember Momma feeding us that I didn’t care for a whole lot. So I grew it but refused to eat it. Think I gave the seeds to the beekeeper lady.

  6. I don’t know where I was when you joined Blotanical, but I missed it. Delighted to find your blog. When I read this post, I immediately could hear my late friend Martha, who last lived in Fort Walton, singing “Just a Bowl of Butterbeans.”

    1. Nell Jean, I don’t know where you were either but I’m glad you came by to visit. Drag up a rocking chair and we’ll shuck those butter beans when they dry. Right now, most of them are up about two inches with two leaves. WordPress didn’t give me any info on a blog for you. Do you live in Georgia and write as Dotty? That’s the only one I could find.

      1. I am Dotty Plants and Seedscatterer on Blogger and Seedscatterer on WordPress. Looks as if I was not logged in when I made the first comment.

        Right now I’ve halted all progress on the blogs, but will resume soon. Meanwhile I am out and about reading and commenting. It will be a while before we shell any butterbeans but I am hopeful that you have a bumper crop.

        1. Nell Jean — So you are on a blog-cation? I took one in early March, too, so I could get my veggie garden in. Going to play with gourd seeds this year but I don’t have them planted yet. Also bought a lot of flower seeds this year to see if I could create a garden with seeds as most nursery prices are beyond my budget. Haven’t planted them, either, because the food garden took priority. I know you said Seedscatterer was meant to gather all your garden elements but do you play with seeds and save seeds? I was interested to see the note from SmallHouseBigGarden saying that she has trouble leaving comments on Blogger blogs. That is the honest to gawd’s truth! Even OpenID doesn’t like me on Blogger! Agggh.

      2. I have trouble leaving comments on Blogspot blogs, too. I think the ones that have the pop-up window will take my comments; the embedded comments just disappear after I click on the comment button. Sometimes I can go back and change my URL and it will take, some of them just refuse me. I looked to see if Bloggger is aware. They claimed to have ‘fixed’ this problem more than a year ago.

        1. Nell Jean — Glad to know it wasn’t personal to me. When I mentioned it to the bloggers whose blogs I was trying to post on, they claimed I was the only one they knew to be having the problem. I actually started with blogger but stayed only three days. I like the way their blogs “look” and wish we had some of those features but I don’t like the headaches.

      3. I’m sure others have trouble too with comments. Most folks just go on to the next blog if they can’t leave a comment, rather than search for an email addy and try to ‘fix’ somebody else’s broken comment box.

        I forgot to answer your question about whether I play with seeds. I do save flower seeds, scatterering things like poppy, larkspur and silene in the fall and starting tropicals like Tecoma stans and Pride of Barbados in the spring. Most of all I like to grow from cuttings.

        I buy new veggie seeds because I don’t need many. When it comes to things like peas and cabbage and rutabagas and squash, I have two neighbors whose hobby is bigger than their table. One calls me to come pick peas and dig potatoes in season because his family refuses to pick any more. The other brings all kinds of goodies. Last year I planted okra and that was mostly all I planted. This spring I planted seeds for tomatoes, eggplant and peppers suitable for container growing. They are doing well. Every year is different.

        1. Nell Jean — You lost me on all the flower seeds after poppies. Not familiar with the others. That’s pretty cool that you get to share in the bounty of your neighbor’s hobby. I’ve have shared some of my veggies, too, but tend not to grow “bigger than my table.” Peppers are perennials. Have you ever experimented with dragging the container in during the winter and setting it out again the next spring?

    1. Glo – If my butter beans reach for those strings I strung for them and grow up them, instead of in a clump, I promise I’ll bring a butter bean pod to your office so you can see for yourself that there are butter beans in the pole variety.

      1. I believe you if you say butter beans grow up poles. I don’t plant. I just pick, cook, can, etc. The buying seeds and planting is up to the hubby and his dad – and there is always the chance they don’t know what they’re talking about.

        I do know that if how big everything is getting in our garden is any indication, I’ll be bring veggies to the office begging someone to take them.

Say something, will you? Your comment will appear after it is approved.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.