Many different types of beans are available for culinary use. Christmas pole lima beans, once known as calico beans, are a very old type of climbing bean. They are known for their light color and buttery flavor.
The calico bean, though quite popular, is considered difficult to find. Also known as the speckled butter bean, its color ranges from light cream to deep maroon with mottled markings. When cooked, the beans turn pink-brown. Introduced to the United States from Peru in 1840, the Christmas pole lima bean is largely sought after for its coloration.
This type of heirloom bean may be used dry or shelled. Its flavor is considered a milder version of other types of lima beans, though still very rich and buttery. Because of this flavor, it is popular to serve ham within any calico bean crock pot dish. Calico bean soup is another common use of the beans, which is traditionally served with cornbread.
Casserole dishes can be made with calico beans, as can most other dishes that call for beans. Vegan and vegetarian meals are often cooked with the beans. Coupled with corn on the cob and veggie burgers, calico beans can provide a complete meal during camping trips and backyard barbecues.
An excellent source of protein, calico beans are considered a healthful food. They are high in fiber, folic acid, and manganese. Lima beans also contain antioxidants. If eaten with whole wheat pasta or brown rice, these beans can provide a source of complete protein for those who do not wish to consume meat.
As with any other type of lima bean, calico beans should be cooked prior to consumption. Eating raw beans can cause severe illness. Consuming properly cooked lima beans can help lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar, prevent heart disease and stroke, and relieve constipation. Digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome may also be alleviated by adding calico beans to the diet. People suffering from insulin resistance due to diabetes may find the legume helpful as well.
People wishing to increase their energy opt to do so with lima beans. They provide long-lasting energy that burns slowly. Its magnesium content also helps to improve blood, oxygen, and nutritional circulation.
Calico beans can grow over ten feet (three and one-half yards) in height. Growers must use supports to guide the evasive plants. The beans themselves may grow from four to six inches (10 to 15 centimeters) in length. Each bean pod can contain up to five flat lima beans.