Soaked lima beans shed and split

mikecoxFebruary 12, 2013

Recently, on two different occasions, my soaked dry Lima beans turned into a disaster.

In the first case I noticed the skins getting all wrinkled so I threw them out after a couple hours.

The second time the same thing happened but I allowed them to continue soaking. After about 4 hours I noticed the beans were shedding their skins and splitting in half. I then them out as well!

I've never soaked Lima beans before but I have not seen this sort of thing happen with White Beans or Great Northern's.

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I normally sprout beans before cooking (increases the nutrition, increases protein, decreases carbohydrates and makes them easier to digest) but another method from America's Test Kitchen for brining looks like it's helping keep the skins on and keeping the "meat" of the beans from bursting.

The video at the link below shows Bridget Lancaster explaining what happens and how to brine beans before cooking them.


Here is a link that might be useful: How To Brine Beans

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 3:19PM
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Thanks grainlady. I am going to try that. I cook cannellini bean soup at least 2-3 times per month in the winter.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 5:56PM
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Hi Mike,

I hate when stuff like that happens but admire your perseverance with the second try.

In any event, I've never tried lima beans, but I recently made ATK's minestrone (great northern and navy beans) using their 1 hour brining/heating/soaking method that Grainlady cited in her link. The results were very good.

I hope your limas were just a fluke.

Cathy in SWPA

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 7:01PM
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Don't understand how the "grainlady"s post got on this thread, but thanks for you comment Cathy. I've posted this question on another forum and a lot of folks are viewing it, but no one has commented yet. I may have to go to Cooks Illustrated with this one. I also have to check to see why I didn't get an email notification.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 1:21PM
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I think that's what they do. Just cook them, there shouldn't be anything wrong with them. I don't eat lima beans so I have never cooked them But I found some info.


Here is a link that might be useful: Limas.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 2:22PM
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My post got on this thread because I put it here - it's as simple as that!

The information included in the ATK video gives you the answer why the beans shed and split. I assumed you wanted a method for preparation to prevent the problem and I gave you two - sprouting and brining. If you don't know anything about sprouting or brining before cooking beans, do your own research because you obviously don't want my input!!!


    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 4:41PM
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mikecox - did you view the link Grainlady posted? It contains methods used to get the desired results with cannellini beans. I believe it would produce good results with other beans as well.

The video she linked is from America's Test Kitchen (ATK). You might not realize this but America's Test Kitchen and Cook's Illustrated are inextricably linked. If you subscribe to CI you should be receiving both CI and ATK emails.

So you can view the video that Grainlady linked or go on over to Cook's Illustrated. I believe the info you get will be the same at either place.

I see you are new here. Welcome to the CF!!! FYI - Grainlady is an instructor and a wealth of information.


This post was edited by teresa_mn on Wed, Feb 13, 13 at 19:26

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 7:07PM
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Apologies to "grainlady".

When I read the post I thought it was off topic; about sprouting beans, I confess I didn't follow it to it's conclusion. Again, I apologize.

I had read about brining, and how it works;and actually watched the video on CI; and yes I do know the connection with ATK. Sadly our local PBS station, here in San DIego, is no longer carrying it; which I don't understand.

Thanks to everyone here for helping with this question.

I am soaking lima beans again and this time I will proceed to cooking them; regardless of how much they shed or split.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 3:11PM
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I you have better results, Mike. If you get an opportunity, report back if things turn out better and what changes you made.

I'm actually going to brine some beans tonight for soup tomorrow because of this thread:)

Good luck.

Cathy in SWPA

PS Grainlady is probably one of the most knowledgeable posters on this forum. Like, sometimes I just go "wow", I never thought of that when I read her posts. She's probably one of the most gracious posters too:)

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 4:29PM
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Thanks Cathy, I'll let you know.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 5:08PM
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The Lima beans didn't shed their skins or split nearly as much as the last two batches. I dug the last package of beans from the very back of the store shelf, so maybe this patch wasn't as old??? But they cooked up perfectly and I had them with supper last night.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 11:49AM
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"cooked up perfectly" Doesn't get much better than that, Mike, does it? Third times the charm!!!

I ended up using some kidney beans in my soup yesterday and some of them split -- I don't know why, but they were particularly off-putting. I can only imagine your limas:)

Thanks for the report.

Cathy in SWPA

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 1:05PM
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