Lima beans, also known as Angolan peas or dolichos beans, are a plant cultivated in Madagascar for their large edible pods and nutritious seeds. These climbing legumes are appreciated for their high protein content.
1. Origin and Terroir
Lima beans, also known by their scientific name "Phaseolus lunatus," are a variety of bean, whether climbing or non-climbing, that is characterized by its varying grain size and its smooth and creamy texture. Lima bean seeds can be used either fresh or dried, offering great culinary versatility. Thanks to adapted agricultural practices, Madagascar has developed a specific variety of white-grained lima beans, with seed preservation dating back to the pre-World War era. This distinction makes lima beans a precious element of Madagascar's agricultural biodiversity.
2. Crop Cultivation Process:
Soil Preparation: The soil is prepared by loosening it and removing weeds, creating a favorable environment for the growth of lima bean plants.
Seed Planting: Lima bean seeds are planted at an appropriate depth in the soil, ensuring the recommended spacing between plants.
Regular Watering: Lima bean plants require regular watering to maintain hydration and promote healthy development.
Supporting Climbing Plants: Climbing varieties of lima beans require a support system, such as trellises or stakes, to help them climb and grow vertically.
Weed Control: Weed control is essential to eliminate competing weeds and allow lima bean plants to fully access nutrients and available space.
Mulching: Applying mulch around lima bean plants helps maintain soil moisture, reduces weed growth, and protects the roots from temperature fluctuations.
Harvesting Tender Pods: Lima bean pods are harvested when the seeds inside reach an appropriate size and are still tender, ensuring a creamy and smooth texture.
3. Harvesting and Processing Methods:
The harvesting of Madagascar lima beans is carried out meticulously to preserve the quality and freshness of the seeds. Farmers harvest the mature lima bean pods, ensuring that they have reached full maturity and that the seeds inside are well-developed. After harvesting, the pods are carefully processed to extract the seeds, which then undergo specific processing methods. These processing techniques include drying, sorting, and packaging, ensuring high-quality Madagascar lima beans that are ready to be enjoyed in various culinary preparations.