Maine has had some cool days, and once again it’s time to take the bean pot out.
Baked beans are a New England tradition providing sustenance to all who enjoy them!
When I was young, it seems baked beans were reserved for Saturday nights in the company of franks, and always baked with salt pork. When I decided not to eat pork anymore, I thought those delicious baked beans were gone forever, but not so. Everyone loves these beans, and no one even knows that there is no salt pork.
As a gardener and a cook, I fell in love with beans. There are so many wonderful varieties, many of which we never see in the market. Beans are a good source of protein, B vitamins plus minerals, fiber, and are naturally low in fat. They are inexpensive, expand when soaked, and store well. For the most part, I think Americans equated them with poverty, and thus they took a back seat to animal protein. But in other countries, beans still hold a place on the dining room table.
2 cups kidney, Jacob cattle or pea beans
Soak overnight, drain, cover with one inch of fresh water and cook till almost tender.
*I use a stainless steel pressure cooker. Soaked overnight, the large beans can be brought up to pressure, cooked for 12-15 minutes. Allow the pressure to drop naturally and they are ready to go.
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees
Add the following to the soaked and cooked beans
and bake in a bean pot or covered dish:
1/3-2/3 cup molasses
1 tbsp. sea salt (scant)
1 medium onion, chopped
4 tbsp. oil (safflower)
Bake covered for 3-4 hours. Uncovered last ½ hour to get the consistency just right.
The rule of thumb for beans;
For every 2 cups of dry beans, use 6 cups of water to cook them in.
Soaking and getting rid of the soaking water, helps with digestion.
Eat them regularly to allow the body to digest them well.
I always serve my baked beans with brown rice and vegetables.