The Maine Ingredient: Maine Apple Baked Beans

Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2012 in Sustainable Maine

The Maine Ingredient: Maine Apple Baked Beans

by Denise Tepler

Everyone is watching their pennies as the Maine economy continues to be slow. Cooking at home more can be economical, but cooking local foods at this time of year can cost quite a bit. Farmer’s costs are higher in winter for storage or green house growing.  Locally grown beans are an exception.  They remain relatively inexpensive even at this time of year.  They store easily with little or no spoilage all winter long. A pot of home baked beans costs only a dollar or two a serving and is filling and delicious.

Here is a recipe using locally grown yellow eye and jacob’s cattle beans from Fairwinds Farm.  I was also lucky enough to purchase a couple of local apples that had been cold stored from Buckwheat Blossom Farm at the Fort Andross winter market.  You can cook baked beans overnight while you sleep and have dinner mostly made even before you leave for work. Serve these beans with a cheesy corn bread and steamed greens or with brown bread and braised cabbage for a late winter treat.  Your house will smell great when you wake up!




3 cups of Maine grown beans (jacob’s cattle, yellow eye or a mixture)

1 large onion

2 large apples (or 3 medium)

2 tablespoons mustard powder

1 tablespoon hickory smoke flavoring

1/2 cup apple butter or apple spread

1/3 cup molasses

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon canola oil (not pictured)



In the morning, put the dry beans in a large bowl and cover with boiling water (at least 8 cups).  Soak all day until beans are plump. 




After dinner, drain and rinse the beans in a sieve or colander.  Preheat the oven to 300 or 325 degrees.



Place the beans in a cast-iron Dutch oven with a lid or in a beanpot.




Peel and chop the onions coarsely and add them to the beanpot.



Core and chop the apples and add them to the pot also.




Add the mustard powder to the pot.



Add the smoke flavoring, the apple butter, the molasses, the brown sugar and the canola oil.




Stir until the ingredients are well combined and coated with molasses, sugar, and flavorings.




Fill the pot with water on top of the ingredients and stir (apples will float but don’t worry).  Cover the pot tightly and place in the oven.  Cook for 8 hours at 300 degrees.  If you must remove the beans in 6 hours, cook at 325 degrees.



Wake up, and remove the pot from the oven.  Enjoy how your house smells. Reheat the beans and serve with cornbread and salad or steamed greens for a yummy dinner.


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