The Q&A Archives: When to Pick Limas and Black Eyed Peas

Question: I am confused about when to pick 2 different types of bean. I have lima beans and black eyed peas. Currently, my lima's look like snow peas (with no noticeable bulge of a bean inside) and are around 3 inches long. Do I pick them now, or wait until they look like they are ready to "shell and eat"? For black eyed peas, they are roughly 7 inches long with many peas bulging in the pod. Do I pick, shell, and freeze? Or do I wait for some other noticeable sign?

Answer: Generally you would wait with the limas until they look ready to shell (are bulging and plump) and eat -- the "lima beans" will not swell after you pick the pods. Limas tend to take a very long season, so patience is the name of the game.

If you are growing the black eyed peas for shelling and drying, you would wait until nearly all of the leaves have shriveled and the pods are breaking open. (This takes a very long season.) This allows them to mature and dry as much as possible before picking. They may need to be dried further prior to storage as they must be stored dry. If you find weevils in them, then you would move them to the freezer.

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