Days Gone By - stories from the past

RECIPE WEDNESDAY: Old recipe for baked beans takes time to make

Today, we just grab a can and make them but have you ever thought about what our ancestors had to do to make baked beans? Here is an old recipe and I bet it tastes a lot better than the canned version today.



 Take two quarts of white beans, pick them over the night before, put to soak in cold water; in the morning put them in fresh water and let them scald, then turn off the water and put on more, hot; put to cook with them a piece of salt pork, gashed, as much as would make five or six slices; boil slowly till soft(not mashed), then add a tablespoonful of molasses, half a teaspoonful of soda, stir in well, put in deep pan, and bake one hour and a half.baked beans old pot

If you do not like to use pork, salt the beans when boiling, and add a lump of butter when preparing them for the oven.

Did you notice there was no temperature for baking? I imagine there was quite a bit of guess work in the 1880’s to get the temperature correct. Most directions said hot or medium fire. I bet the pork and beans tasted a good deal better than the canned ones today.


More interesting and sometimes humorous solutions and old recipes can be found in the book  VINEGAR OF THE FOUR THIEVES: Recipes & curious tips from the past This book is a compilation of some of the funny and helpful tips from our past history. Some recipes and tips date back to 1770s.

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Vinegar of the Four Thieves: Recipes & Curious Tips from the Past (Paperback)

By (author):  Donna R Causey
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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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  1. Janice Garrison Shepherd

    I still make them from scratch! Delicious!

  2. Craig Jennings

    sounds yummy don’t forget onions and peppers

  3. Yes, we are having delicious baked beans. I also make mine from scratch, using bell pepper, onion, small peice of fatback and brown sugar. I do pick and let my beans sit in water over night.

  4. June Persons

    I am very thankful for the good old canned can I can just add a few touches to.

  5. Jean Cox

    Were they cooking with soda in the 1880s? What’s the date on this recipe, please?

    1. Aaron Hanlin

      They’re talking about baking soda I believe, which has been around a long time

    2. Jean Cox

      Aaron Hanlin, ah…. I guess that’s my “duh” moment for the day. Thanks.

  6. Alan Raymond Yates

    I have made them for decades. I start with dried beans and then follow a recipe of my own. The family loves them.

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