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Dried Lima Beans

January 01, 2009

Category: Picks of the Week
Posted by: Sam Edelman
These should never be overlooked at farmers markets as they are an exceptional source of complex carbohydrates as well as protein. Dried lima beans, harvested typically around late fall each season, actually contain a higher proportion of protein than any other plant food. Although the protein is incomplete, it can easily be complemented by serving the beans with rice or other grains, nuts, that supply the missing amino acids. They are also the plant kingdom's second-best source of dietary fiber (wheat bran is number one), and half of that is soluble fiber. Hand harvested and sorted by local Carpinteria Farmer Tom Shepherd, these deliciously creamy beans can be found at the Tuesday Santa Barbara, Thursday Goleta and Carpinteria, and Saturday Santa Barbara farmers markets each week. Perfect for making a healthy warm bean salad as seen in this week's Fix. Price is only $2 a pound while supplies last.

Hydroponics Tomatoes

If you're starting to miss those tasty outdoor-grown tomatoes, there is still a great locally grown tomato option available at your local farmers markets. Beylik Family Farms produces some of the best hothouse tomatoes around, sheltered from the rough winter elements. The flavors are impressive to say the least, harvested ripe off the vine. You can find a great array of Big Beef, Cluster, Sungold, Japanese and Premium varieties at most of our weekly farmers markets. Price averages about $3 per pound this time of year, depending on the variety.

Sweet Navel Oranges:

It is that time of year when those exceptional navel oranges start rolling into our local farmers markets. This super-sweet and easy to peel variety is perfect for the kids, and a sure way they get their needed vitamin C. But a small orange (about 5 ounces) also contains generous levels of folate (folic acid), potassium and thiamin, as well as some calcium and magnesium. Oranges have become America's No. 1 source of vitamin C intake, and are great whether sliced, juiced or used as an exceptional marinade or salad dressing. Available at all weekly farmers markets, prices range from 30 cents to $1 per pound depending on the bulk of your purchase.

Warm Lima Bean Salad

January 01, 2009

Category: Recipes
Posted by: Sam Edelman
Freshly dried lima beans from this past fall harvest are available in abundance right now from local Carpinteria area farmer Tom Shepherd. Commonly referred to as "butter beans," this variety is renowned for its distinct nutty flavor and thick creamy texture with every bite. This bean is extremely hearty, making for a sufficient meal base, delicious when combined with fresh seasonal veggies. Whether enjoyed hot off the stove, or as a cold bean salad chilled in the refrigerator, the flavor can't be matched with this local favorite.

Dried lima beans are an extremely nutrient packed food, providing an exceptional diversity of vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber. In a 1-cup serving of prepared dried lima beans you are delivered more than 35 grams of dietary fiber, and 39 grams of protein. In addition, prepared dried lima beans provide an abundance of calcium, iron, potassium, thiamin, folate, vitamin B6 and 12, zinc, copper, magnesium and phosphorus.

When selecting your lima beans at the farmers market, look for those that are free of wrinkles, soft spots and discoloration. The outer surface should be smooth and portray a vibrant white color across its hard shell. Dried lima beans tend to average about the size of a quarter, and about one-eighth of an inch thick, when reaching peak maturity and flavor. Once home, dried lima beans should be stored in an air tight container in a cool dark location. They store extremely well when they are free of any exposure to moisture, easily lasting more than six months.

Like all dried beans, the trick to getting them just right always comes down to the amount of water and whether or not to pre-soak. With these beans, I found a 2 1/2 to 1 water-bean ratio works best when brought to a boil and reduced to a simmer. Total cooking time averages about 2 hours, with no pre-soaking required for a delicious finish. They will just about double in size when completed.

For this week's Fix, I went for a simple Warm Lima Bean Salad served with a side of freshly steamed broccoli.

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