great Northern bean
A large white bean that resembles the lima bean in shape but that has a delicate, distinctive flavor. Great Northern beans are grown in the Midwest and are generally available dried. As with other dried beans, they must be soaked before cooking. They're particularly popular in baked bean dishes and can be substituted for any white beans in most recipes. See also beans.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.