Okay, I'm not sure this is so much a tip......most people probably already know this......but I did NOT, until a wiser, older momma shared with me IN DETAIL her recipe for beans.
When I first thought about making any bean dish, I was scared. I know, I know, *scared* of beans? Come on. But I was. I just had never really dealt with dry beans before.
One of the things I was scared about was how long to soak/boil them. The first time I made them, I did not let them soak and/or boil long enough, seeing as how they never did get soft enough. I was now SUPER-scared of beans - I had messed up! I guess that's my first tip:
#1. Don't be afraid to make a mistake. It's only beans. They don't cost that much. No biggie.
So I finally decided to try again. I let one pound of beans soak in a large pot overnight (about 10 hours this time). In the morning, I drained them, rinsed them, then covered them again with water. I then boiled the beans for 30 minutes. Here comes the important tip:
#2. To see if the beans are soft enough to continue adding ingredients, blow on one bean. If the skin of the bean breaks open and peels back - you are good!!
Then take advantage of this cool little experiment and share this time with your kiddos. My children were entralled with the bean blowing. Selah called out to Isaac, "come on, you gotta come blow the beans, brother!"
Here's my recipe for Baked Beans (taken from Hillybilly Housewife's recipe and slightly altered):
1 pound white beans (northern, navy, etc.)
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. molasses
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 onion; peeled and chopped
bacon, ham, etc.; chopped (as much as you desire for your meal)
Soak the beans overnight in lots of water. In the morning, drain, rinse, then recover with new water. Boil the beans for 30 min. At this time, do the "blow test". If your beans pass, continue on. If not, continue boiling a bit longer.
Drain beans, then put in either a dutch oven or your crock pot. Add rest of the ingredients to the beans. Then just cover beans with hot water. Be careful with this - you can always keep an eye on your beans and add more water as needed. Not so easy to take extra water away.....just ask me how I know this......can we say 'Baked Bean SOUP'??
In your crock pot (my preferred method for it's simplicity), simply turn to low, place a heavy dish towel on the top of the lid (to get a better seal), then walk away for 6-8 hours. I do stir a few times during the day.
In your dutch oven, cover, put in a 300 degree pre-heated oven for 5-7 hours.
Enjoy with a nice wheat bread or corn bread for a great protein combination!! Whoo-hoo!!*Michigan Momma*