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That which we call a Butter Bean

Posted Jun 10 2011 12:00am

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet…”
from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (written around 1591-1594)

The Mosaic Grandpa came home from a trip to the Whole Foods antipasto bar with a fun selection of goodies, but one of them really threw me for a loop – marinated butter beans. I had never heard of them before.

Butter beans, it appears, are the new name for old fashioned lima beans, in all their creamy splendor, and Whole Foods is boasting the biggest, creamiest ones we have ever seen. They are, however, very, very expensive.

Going down the canned vegetable aisle in our local Kroger, we were able to find a 15-ounce can of butter beans with “extra large” noted on the side for 89¢. On opening, draining, and rinsing, we found them to be about ⅓ smaller than the ones in the antipasto bar but with the price difference, we can deal with it. The flavor and texture was the same as what Whole Foods offered.

One of the claims-to-fame of butter beans is that they offer a generous portion of the trace mineral molybdenum, which is a necessary component of an enzyme our body produces that detoxifies sulfites. If you’ve experienced a headache from drinking even a little bit of wine, or felt off after eating salad from a salad bar, you may have been reacting to sulfite-based preservatives. NOTE: For some folks, sulfites are life threatening and no amount of molybdenum will help. For the rest of us, however, some marinated butter beans might be worth including on the happy hour spread.

Marinated Butter Beans

Makes 1 ½ cups
Time: 5 minutes + 6 hours marinating time

1 (15-ounce) can extra large butter beans
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Mrs. Dash (original)

Rinse and drain the beans well. Mix everything together in a pint-size jar with a tight fitting lid. Turn to coat evenly, then refrigerate for at least six hours. Drain to serve, but save the marinade to use again for a second batch!

Grandpa stuffed some marinated butter beans into some pickled hot peppers instead of his usual cheese, and we tried the beans on a dinner salad, both with equally excellent results. They are also wonderful just served as part of a platter of olives along with some nice breads as a simple appetizer.

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