Well, due to some dietary restrictions that I have meanly imposed on my youngest lad, buying baked beans in cans is now frought with difficulty. He can't have gluten, wheat, wheat by products, or anything dairy. So all those little words like "thickener" and "starch" are a no-no!
SO today I'm making a large batch of baked beans from scratch, so I know exactly what's in them, and I know that they are safe for him to eat.
First step - select the beans. Contrary to popular opinion, you can make baked beans out of ANY type of bean. It just depends on what you like. I happened to have some dry navy beans left from last time I made them, and I also threw in a few handfuls of dry black-eyed peas. (no, not the band.)
These were put in the big stockpot and covered with water to soak. I ended up soaking them for about 18 hours, although overnight is usually fine.
Then I drained them into the colander. At this point I had a heaped large colander full of soaked beans. Yep, that's the sum total of the measurement you'll be getting today *grin*
Now there are a number of different ways that you can follow from here. One is to simmer your beans in fresh water for about and hour - hour and a half. Then drain again, mix with sauce ingredients, and back in oven on low heat for about 6 hours.
However - I don't like the bake in oven for long periods thing. And today I really didn't want to be in and out of the kitchen all day either.
So I pulled out the slow cooker.
Put beans in slow cooker. If you are making these the same way I am, add about 3 cups of water, about 1 litre of passata (mine is home made from last years tomato preserving frenzy - one litre is approximate, i used one size 27 Fowlers Jar) and stir.
Then I threw in - some garlic powder (to taste), about a cup of dark brown sugar, a tablespoon or so of powdered mustard, and a good teaspoon of ground cloves. It now smells like baked beans in there!!!
Switch crockpot on. Here directions may vary. I have read 12 hours on low. But because I chose NOT to pre-cook the beans (as well as the pre-soak) I have put the pot on high for a few hours first.
I will probably stir in once in a little while and see how they are going, and then perhaps turn it to low, all things depending.
And if I was going to work tomorrow, I would definetly be pressure canning these babies. But since I AM going to work, they will go into the freezer instead.