Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Late Night Limas

My dad invited me to pick limas with him at ye olde family farm a few weeks ago and since I could drop Phoebe off with my mom, I gladly went.

I was less glad that night at 10pm when I finally finished shelling the buggers and had to blanch and freeze them.  The big kids and my husband all sat around shelling with me after supper.  We took turns picking songs to play on Youtube - that was fun!

I picked a 5-gallon bucket (my uncle charged me only $10) and ended up with 13 pints in the freezer.  We'll enjoy succotash and lima bean chowder this winter, and maybe I'll look around for some new lima recipes, too.

Now, a word about freezing in glass jars from a reader request a few weeks ago: I use glass jars because I'm trying to use less plastic overall.  I prefer to use wide-mouth canning jars for freezing because they seem to break less frequently than regular-mouth jars, possibly because the shoulders of the regular-mouth jars are too constraining to the food expanding as it freezes.

I only put glass jars in the freezer if the contents are room temperature or chilled - putting a jar with hot food in it into the freeze stresses the glass and frequently leads to cracks. I always throw away the contents of jars with cracked glass - so frustrating to waste that food, but much less frustrating and scary than injuring my people with a shard of glass.

Another reason I like to use wide-mouth jars is because they stack better and stay stacked; when a stack of jars topples in the freezer, they crash into each other and crack.  Sometimes, if a jar has been rapped too many times by a hard object (metal serving spoon, another jar, the granite counter top), the glass is weakened in spots and then it cracks from a change in temperature, whether in the canning pot or the freezer.

 I try to leave plenty of headspace - about 2" - although you wouldn't know it from the lima photo on this post, but let's blame that on a late night and an unwillingness to wash more jars.  The next time I went to the freezer, I nervously examined each jar of frozen limas to see if any had cracked.  Thanks to my canning fairy, they were all fine.


  1. Lima beans are like gold around our house. I used to grow them, but now I buy them from an Amish neighbor and take them to the sheller. For $4.00 I have them all shelled in about 15 minutes. Saves me hours of work, especially since I'm the only one around any more to do the shelling.
    Cooked in just a little salt water, served with butter and milk is our favorite way to eat them! (just drain off the water and replace with a little milk. Heat and eat!!)

  2. whuuuuuut??? I knew about pea hullers, but not lima bean shellers! I have to get out in the country more!

  3. Great post and thanks for answering my question. One more- do you have a chest freezer or an upright freezer? Mine cracked in the freezer above my fridge.

  4. A pint a month and one to share. Not bad for a day's work!

  5. Wilde Family, happy to answer your question! I have a chest freezer. It is colder than my freezer above my fridge - is the freezer above your fridge set really cold?

    1. It is self defrosting, so I wonder if that is part of the problem. And maybe the children who knock things about as they search through the freezer probably does not help. 😀 I'll have to try organizing the jars in my chest freezer - perhaps in boxes would cushion them.

  6. I'm the only one in my house who likes limas.

    I do love a fully stocked freezer with all sorts of treats like this, even if I'm the only one who would appreciate lima beans.

  7. Wilde Family, if you do use boxes in your freezer, it's best to use ones with holes that allow air circulation. I use plastic milk crates in mine.

  8. Are fresh lima beans different from commercially frozen ones, do you think? I've never been able to cozy up to lima beans but have never eaten them cooked from fresh. I do like edamame, and you'd think they would be similar, but they don't seem to be.

  9. Jenny_o, yes, I'd say the flavor of fresh is better. Commercially frozen ones are blander and mushier, I think.

  10. Only straight-sided jars are meant for the freezer. The boxes of jars will indicate if the jars are for freezing. Jars with "shoulders" will break. If the sides are straight, you can freeze in them. If the jar curves inward toward the opening, you cannot freeze in them.


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