Baked Beans

This old-fashioned recipe contains salt pork or bacon which is optional. Because salt pork or bacon has been cured, it presents far less contamination risk than raw meat and may be safely processed in a pressure canner.

Equipment: Pressure canner; six 1-pint jars or three 1-quart jars.

6 cups small white beans
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
2/3 cup molasses
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp dry mustard
1/3 pound salt pork or thick sliced bacon, but into 1-inch pieces

  1. Rinse beans thoroughly in cool water and drain well. Place beans into a 6- to 8-quart pan and add 3 quarts water. Cover and soak for 12 hours or overnight.

  2. Drain beans, return to pan and add 3 quarts of water and the salt. Bring to boil over medium heat, reduce to a simmer, stirring occassionally, for 1 hour. Remove from heat drain, reserving 2 cups of the cooking liquid for later use.

  3. In a large bowl or pan, combine the brown sugar, molasses, corn syrup and mustard. Stir in the reserved cooking liquid from the previous step. Add the salt pork or bacon and beans and stir until evenly combined. Pour mixture into a 4- to 6-quart greased bean pot or deep casserole or baking pan. Cover with a lid or foil.
  4. Bake beans at 250F (120C) for 6 to 8 hours. Stir occassionally to prevent sticking. Add water if needed to keep beans moist.

  5. Remove beans from oven and ladle into clean, hot jars, leaving 1-inch of headspace. Using bubble freer or plastic knife to remove any trapped air bubbles. Add more beans if needed to maintain 1-inch head space. Wipe jar rims and threads with a clean, damp cloth.

  6. Cap, seal, and process in a pressure canner. Process pints for 80 minutes, quarts for 95 minutes, at 11 pounds of pressure in a dial-guage canner or at 10 pounds in a weighted-gauge canner. Adjust for elevation if more than 1,000 feet above sea level.