Baked Beans

Baked Beans (Time 0_08_05;15)Today we’re going to bake beans. Beans were a common fare in the 18th century both for regular folks and part of the soldier’s rations. We’re going to bake beans in the oven and buried in a pit.

  • Beans
  • Salt Pork
  • Onions
  • Barbados Molasses or Pure Maple Syrup
  • Mustard
  • Pepper
  • Water

Baked Beans (Time 0_00_39;05)
If you are using an earthen oven, let it heat up. We actually suggest you go ahead and bake bread in the oven before you put beans in it. You don’t want it to be too hot. Baked Beans (Time 0_01_14;01)
If you are cooking in a pit, dig a hole in the ground that’s about twice as big as the pot you’re going to cook in and a little bit deeper than the pot so that we can have coals underneath and on top. Baked Beans (Time 0_01_29;13)
Then go ahead and start a fire in the pit.

Baked Beans (Time 0_01_50;28)Soaking your beans overnight is a very good idea. It helps them cook for a lot less time. You also should boil your beans for an hour or two, whatever it takes to get them nice and soft and ready to bake. Dry beans have a toxin in them that causes issues with digestion if they aren’t heated to the right temperature. If they’re baked at a very low temperature, that doesn’t get rid of the toxins.

Baked Beans (Time 0_01_42;04)
You need a two quart pot for baking your beans in. If you are baking in an oven, we recommend our new red ware bean pot that you can find on our website. If you are using the pit method, we have our two quart pots with new metal lids for them that will be perfect for this sort of operation. Baked Beans (Time 0_08_22;11)Regardless of the pot you use, be careful when removing the lid as it can stick to the pot if the beans boil over during baking. To avoid this, you can grease the lid before baking, or wipe it down each time you open the pot.

Baked Beans (Time 0_02_54;07)
Pour your beans into your chosen vessel and add some salt pork. Baked Beans (Time 0_03_15;24)
You can use authentic style salt pork like we cover in one of our videos. You can also use bacon or salt pork that you find in the grocery store but they’re both rather greasy and fatty, so you would want to cut back on how much you use. If you use authentic salt pork you want to make sure to soak it for an hour or two to reduce the saltiness.

Baked Beans (Time 0_03_39;18)
Now add a good big spoonful of dry mustard. Dry mustard is very common; you see it in almost every recipe for baked beans.

Baked Beans (Time 0_04_11;07)
You can use about a cup of molasses or a half a cup of authentic maple syrup for the sweetener.Baked Beans (Time 0_04_00;17) Barbados molasses or light molasses is going to have a lot better taste than blackstrap which is very bitter.Baked Beans (Time 0_04_15;28)
You also need about a quarter teaspoon of pepper. You don’t need too much, so don’t go crazy with the pepper. Baked Beans (Time 0_04_30;05)Finally, we need about a quarter to a half a cup of onions. You want to get all this stuff pushed down to the bottom and mixed well.Baked Beans (Time 0_04_33;21)

Now let’s top this up with water. Baked Beans (Time 0_04_47;29)Don’t be afraid to put too much water in. It’s going to bake off so you want to have it topped off with water. While it is baking, check every few hours to make sure there is enough liquid so that your beans don’t dry out too much.

Baked Beans (Time 0_05_27;24)
If you are using the oven, you can bake them anywhere from 2 to 12 hours. The longer they bake, the better they will taste as long as you don’t let them dry out.

Baked Beans (Time 0_06_28;24)
If you are using a fire pit, you will need to dig out the coals to make room for the pot. You want to make sure you’ve got hot coals on all sides and on the bottom, then you want to have a little rock that you can put on top of the lid to make sure it doesn’t get knocked off. Baked Beans (Time 0_06_39;07)Finally, place hot coals up on top and build a fire over the pit to keep the heat in. You can bake the beans here for 2-12 hours as well but you will still need to check the moisture levels every few hours and continue to bank the fire on top if it dies down too much.

Baked Beans (Time 0_09_46;10)These beans have a flavor that you cannot get anyplace else. They’re really good. Good food is really important. When you are reenacting, the most important part of having fun is having really good food. The public is going to be more interested, and you will have more people wanting to join your group, so I encourage everyone to do more period cooking at events. I think you’ll really enjoy it.

Transcription of Video:

Today we’re going to bake beans. Beans were a common fare in the 18th century both for regular folks and part of the soldier’s rations. We’re going to bake beans in the oven today then we’re going to bake beans buried in a pit.

It was common practice in New England for the village baker to heat up his oven, bake his bread and other items and then at the end of the day everyone would bring their bean pots and they’d put it in the oven and it would stay in overnight to bake the beans. Especially on Saturday night so on Sunday everyone had beans to eat and they didn’t have to work on the Sabbath.

Soldiers didn’t have ovens to work with so they’d have to use whatever they had on hand. We’re going to dig a hole so that we can bake our beans inside of a fire pit, down inside the earth.

We’re looking for a hole in the ground that’s about twice as big as the pot we’re going to cook in and a little bit deeper than the pot so that we can have coals underneath and on top. So while our oven is heating up, I’m going to go ahead and start a fire in this pit.

And while our fires are burning down to coals, let’s talk about beans. Soaking your beans is a very good idea. It helps them cook for a lot less time. You also should boil your beans. Dry beans have a toxin in them that causes issues with digestion if they aren’t heated to the right temperature. If they’re baked at a very low temperature, that doesn’t get rid of the toxins and you need to boil them first.

Well, we’ve had our beans boiling. These have boiled for quite a while. You can boil them an hour or whatever it takes to get them nice and soft and ready to bake. We’re going to use two different methods of baking. We’re going to flavor these two batches in two different ways.

Let’s divide our beans up into our two different cooking vessels. We have our new red ware bean pot that you can find on our website. We also are going to use one of our two quart pots and we have one of these new metal lids for them that are available that will be perfect for this sort of operation. Anyway, let’s get these divided out.

First thing we’re going to put into these, they’re both going to get some salt pork. You can use authentic style salt pork like we cover in one of our videos. You can also use bacon or salt pork that you find in the grocery store but they’re both rather greasy, fatty, so you would want to cut back on how much you’d use. If you use authentic salt pork you want to make sure to soak it for an hour or two to reduce the saltiness.

Now we’re going to put in mustard in both of these. Dry mustard is very common. You see it in almost every recipe for baked beans, and we’re going to need a good, big spoonful in each one of these pots. Both our beans recipes use a sweetener. In this one we’re going to use a molasses, and this one some maple syrup, both of those are very common sweeteners. We’re going to use about a cup. You’ll want to use a Barbados molasses; you don’t want to use blackstrap. Barbados molasses or light molasses is going to have a lot better taste than blackstrap which is very bitter. And for the maple beans, you want to make sure to use about a half a cup of authentic maple syrup. And in both pots, a quarter teaspoon of pepper here, not one of these spoons, or you’ll do too much, so don’t go crazy with pepper. And we need some onions in here. We’re going to use about half of these, maybe a half a cup or a quarter cup of onions. You want to get all this stuff mixed well, pushed down to the bottom and mixed well. Let’s get both of these stirred up.

Now let’s top these up with water. Don’t be afraid to put too much water in. It’s going to bake off so you want to have both of these topped off with water. Okay, there we go, should be enough water. Our fires, both places, look like they’re ready to go. Let’s start with our oven baked beans first.

Our oven’s good and hot. In a previous video we’ve shown you how to build one of these ovens and how to fire it and bake bread in it. We actually suggest you go ahead and bake bread in the oven before you put beans in it. You don’t want it to be too hot.

We’re going to let these beans bake. You can bake them in an oven like this for 4 or 6, 8 hours, even 12 hours, the longer the better and they really start to taste good. You might want to check them after just a couple of hours to make sure there’s still some liquid in there. You don’t want them baking out too dry, you might need to add a little water.

We’ve got to make some room in our fire pit to put this other pot down inside the coals.

You want to make sure you’ve got coals on all side, coals on the bottom, hot coals all the way around each side, then you want to have a little rock that you can put on top of the lid, make sure it doesn’t get knocked off, now we’re going to put coals up on top. We’re going to go ahead and build a fire up on top of this so it’s got more heat.

The beans have been in here about 3 or 4 hours so we’re going to go ahead and pull them out now. They could probably cook a lot longer but let’s get these out of here.

Well let’s take a look. Looks, whoa, they look really good. These have cooked for about 4 hours so they’re ready to eat right now. If we want them to be even better, we can let them cook longer. Another 4 hours or even another 8 hours and they’ll really start to darken up, but these are ready to eat just like this.

These maple beans have been in the embers for several hours. I think they’re done, let’s take them out.

There we have our molasses baked beans and our maple flavored baked beans. Both of these we let cook for quite a while. There’s a lot of latitude here in how long we’re going to bake our beans. They’ve already been precooked when we put them in. They’ve already been boiled, so you know, they’re only going to get softer and better tasting the longer you cook them. We put in the raw salt pork, so you’re definitely going to want to make sure that gets cooked so you want to bake them at least two hours at the very bare minimum. Four hours is good, and all the way up to 12 hours. They’re only going to get tasting a little bit better, you just need to check on their moisture levels occasionally, make sure they don’t get too dry.

Another hint on this, on these bean pots, when you’re using, especially the molasses, they want to boil over and then this molasses stuff gets stuck between the lid of the pot and the body and they can be really hard to get off. You don’t want to break your pot and break the lid, so you want to either grease this lid here so it doesn’t get stuck or you want to make sure to wipe those down when you check on the moisture level.

These beans have a flavor that you cannot get anyplace else. I really recommend you try a couple of these bean recipes. They’re really good. Good food is really important. The public is going to be more interested in food when you’ve got really good food in your cooking. Recruits, if you want people to join your group, really good food is what’s going to bring them in. That’s a really important part and you want to have fun when you’re reenacting and probably the most important part of having fun is having really good food, so I encourage everyone to do more period cooking at events. I think you’ll really enjoy it. On our website you can find all kinds of great period cooking things, equipment and eating supplies. We have a lot of different kinds of clothing, so make sure to check out our online catalog. You can get one of our printed catalogs and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook.

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This entry was posted in 18th Century Cooking, Baking, Historic Cooking, Ingredients, Recipe, Video. Bookmark the permalink.

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