Beans – Lima Beans and Butterbeans

Q: A battle rages between my dearest friends. The line is drawn between South Georgia natives and Atlanta-raised folks. Fresh, dried, green, beige, or speckled: what is the difference between a butterbean and a lima bean?

A: I conducted an unofficial poll with ten friends. Five said butterbeans are the large beans with thick skins and five said butterbeans are small and have thin skins. So I turned to Arty Schronce at the Georgia Department of Agriculture for the final word. Like me, Arty remembers from elementary school the gallon cans of large, mealy beans, clearly labeled lima beans. For him, butterbeans are small, with a more delicate flavor than coarse lima beans. His favorites include ‘Dixie White’ and ‘Dixie Speckled’ butterpeas. Officially, pole beans, lima beans and butterbeans are the same plant, Phaseolus vulgaris, only differing in plant form, pod size and pod length.