Butterbeans are super easy to cook with bacon, butter, and the secret–a touch of sugar! You’ll have an easy side dish that goes with almost anything.
There are many vegetables that I love to eat, but which carry bad memories—memories of torture and mistreatment. Possibly even child abuse. Corn is one. We actually had to sit in the yard with buckets of corn and shuck it, pulling those green husks and long silks back until the sweet, yellow ear was revealed. And all the while, the hot sun beat down on us, causing sweat to run down our backs in rivers.
Then there were peas and butterbeans. Have you ever visited a pea patch in Georgia in the summertime? Hot, sticky, dusty, maybe snakes underneath the rows and rows of bushes…definitely potential child abuse there. And then we had to shell them. Peas were easy enough, but butterbeans—ugh. Those flat beans were hard to shell and then just a few beans fell out. It could take hours to get a good bowl full, much less enough to put up for the winter.
But on a cold January day, when Mama placed a platter of fried chicken on the table along with a big bowl of hot butterbeans, well, there was no complaining then.
Butterbeans are one of those distinctly Southern vegetables that seems to have different names and different varieties everywhere you go. Are they butterbeans or lima beans? The ones I grew up eating grow up poles and are small and green. These beans are cooked fresh or frozen. Then there are dried butterbeans, which are larger and lighter in color, almost tan. Those never appealed to me, but my family eats them year round.
I buy frozen butterbeans during the fall and winter months, but use fresh when they are in season during the summer. Here’s my way of cooking them—and my husband regularly declares they are the best he’s ever tasted.
And no, of course he is not biased.
How to Cook Butterbeans
Start by adding water, salt, pepper, bacon, butter, sugar and garlic powder to a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for a minute or two until all the seasonings have dissolved. Add beans and return to a boil, then turn down to simmer.
I like butterbeans to be very tender, so I cook them for about an hour. These are delicious with chicken, pot roast, meatloaf or even as a portion of a vegetable plate with sliced tomatoes and fried okra.
- 1 lb. butterbeans
- 2 slices thick cut bacon
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Place butterbeans in a large saucepan. Fill pan with enough water to cover the butterbeans by about an inch. Add bacon, sugar, garlic powder, butter, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Turn down to a simmer and cook 45 minutes or until very tender. Taste and add additional salt if needed. Serve warm.