Thursday, November 8, 2012

Boston Baked Beans

Revised and updated June 2020

I love it when I come across a new recipe for canning, and just couldn't wait to try it and share it!  This one is much more reminiscent of true Boston Baked Beans with onion, molasses, ground mustard, and more goodness!

I tasted it several times during the "baking" process and adjusted the seasonings to our taste, so please feel free to make it your own. The process is long, but you're not standing over it all day long, and the results are so worth the time it takes!

1 bag dry Hurst Navy Beans (24 oz or 3 cups)
3 tbsp molasses (or more to taste)
2 tsp salt per 3 cups of beans (optional)
1-2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 cup ketchup (or barbecue sauce)
1/4 cup brown sugar (or up to 1/2 cup)
1 large onion, diced
1-2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1-2 tsp course-ground black pepper (or to taste)

Sort and rinse the beans in a colander in cold water. In a large dutch oven add beans and 3 cups of water per 1 cup of beans (9 cups water for 3 cups of beans).  Cover and bring to a boil on stove-top. Boil 2 minutes, remove from heat and let sit covered 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans.

Add beans back to the dutch oven, add 9 cups of water, and heat to boiling. Drain (this time reserving the bean water in a bowl). 

Mix the 
molasses, salt, ground mustard, ketchup (or barbecue sauce), brown sugar, onion, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and 4 cups of the reserved bean water in a large dutch oven; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; stir in drained beans.  You may need more bean water as you need enough to cover beans completely. Mixture will be very soupy.

Cover dutch oven and bake in oven at 350 for 3-4 hours, stirring every hour and adding more bean water as necessary to keep beans soupy.  After 2 hours, taste beans and adjust seasonings to your taste (I added more molasses, ground mustard and pepper). Beans should be ready to pressure can in 3-4 hours (the beans should be cooked, but remember they are going to cook more in the canner, so you don't want them too soft).

If not canning, stop here and continue to bake until beans are done to your satisfaction. Serve while hot with your favorite dishes.

Pressure Canning:
Using a slotted spoon, ladle beans into canning jars, filling with half solids and half liquid (I chose pint jars for us, but quarts work too). Add more bean water to each jar if needed to keep mixture "soupy." Cover jars with seals and pressure can pints 65 minutes, or quarts 75 minutes at 10 lbs. pressure (adjusting for altitude).

Remove pressure canner from heat, allow pressure to release on its own, remove jars (place on a kitchen towel on your counter-top) and leave undisturbed 24 hours.  Jars are sealed when you hear the "popping" of the lids depressing (raised button in the middle of the lid is depressed).

Store on pantry shelf. Shelf life is 1 year.

Yield: approx. 6 pints

Enjoy your Boston Baked Beans with some Boston Brown Bread for an authentic New England treat.

For more awesome bean recipes see Bacon Zucchini Bean Dip and the amazing bean collection at Sumptuous Spoonfuls


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  6. I had made the mistake of not filling the jars half way with the baked beans and topping off with bean water. When the pressure canning was completed, the beans were so thick that there were visible pockets of air through the entire product. It's only been 3 days so would it be okay to empty the baked beans from every jar into a large pot, add water, boil for 15 minutes and then pressure can them again?

    1. You will but the beans will probably be so soft reprocessing them, you will have a less than desirable end product. I'm afraid they'd really be mushy. It would probably be more advisable to do as you suggest, but freeze them.

    2. You might be able to just add more liquid when reheating. I'd try that before I'd waste them. Freezing them seems like they would continue to get mushy. You wont k ow till you try, so good luck and let us know what worked best.