Butter beans, which are more common in the south than other parts of the country, are a variety of lima beans called Fordhook and larger than the limas most people are familiar with. They are usually just boiled in water, tossed with butter and added as a side dish, however, butter beans can be cooked in chicken stock with other ingredients such as bits of ham or bacon. While the choices are endless on how to prepare fresh butter beans, the following steps are for the basic butter bean side dish.
Shell the beans to reveal the butter beans inside and wash the beans in cold water.
Soak your fresh butter beans overnight in a bowl of water to speed up the cooking process.
Boil a pot of water and put in the butter beans.
Return the pot to a boil and slowly simmer them. Test a bean after about 1½ hours of simmering to see if it is soft. If not, cook for another 15 minutes and test again. The beans should be ready in about two hours.
Drain the beans in a colander.
Stir in real butter before serving. Usually a tablespoon or two will suffice. Season with salt and pepper to taste if desired.