My mom made these beans often when I was growing up. The house smelled so good while they were cooking we could hardly wait for dinner. Because my mom always had lot of ham in her baked beans a bowl of these beans was our meal. We used bread to soak up all of the extra juice in the bowl. Our bowls were bone dry by the time we finished.
My mom has been asked a million times for her recipe. But there was no recipe – until now. Last year I decided I’d better learn how to make these beans before my Mom would be unable to teach me. So she came over and taught me what to do and I wrote down what we did and what we used. Now we have a recipe. I hope you give it a try. Enjoy.
2 – 16 oz. bags of small, dry, navy beans
1½ cups sugar
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 ham bone with ham still on the bone*
1 – 12 ounce jar molasses
¾ cup Ketchup
1 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
The night before you want to make the beans place the dry beans in a large stockpot and cover with water. Let soak overnight. Drain the water. Add fresh water to the pot to cover the beans and bring to boil. Skim off foam as it accumulates on the top. Then add all the remaining ingredients and stir to mix.
Bring bean mixture to a boil and let simmer on top of stove, un-covered, for about a half hour or so until some of the liquid is cooked down. Then cover and continue to simmer for 4-5 hours, stirring occasionally – or until beans are tender and a rich caramel color. If there is still quite a bit of liquid in the pot, don’t worry, a lot will get resorbed as the beans cool. These freeze great. I like to freeze them is small batches and take them out as needed.
*Whenever I have a leftover ham I save the bone and leave quite a bit of the meat on the bone. I either use it for soup or my mom’s beans. When using it for beans the meatier the bone the better. I even cut-up extra ham in small chunks and cook it with the beans.
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