Special to The Sentinel-Record
July is National Baked Bean Month, which was "declared" in 1981 by the Michigan Bean Commission to promote the benefits of the beans and to share the best ways to prepare them, according to Teresa Henson, Extension specialist-program outreach coordinator at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
"Baked beans are good any time, but are especially good at barbecues and picnics," she said. "A large batch can be made in a slow cooker, and they are easily transported to a gathering."
Baked beans are a staple high in potassium, fiber and other nutrients, Henson said. According to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, beans are an important part of a healthy and well-balanced diet and provide an excellent source of protein.
There is an array of beans that can be incorporated into a healthy diet, such as pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans and navy beans, she said. These beans are naturally low in fat and contain no saturated fat or cholesterol.
"Most baked beans are made with navy beans in sauce," Henson said. "They can, however, be made with garbanzo, kidney, pinto or lima beans. The nutrients and flavor vary depending on which beans you choose to use."
The easy recipe below can be doubled or tripled to feed a crowd, she said. It's perfect for a picnic or potluck.
Makes 6 servings
1 1/2 cups navy, kidney or lima beans (dry, sorted and rinsed)
2 cups water
2 cups apple juice
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons molasses
1/2 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard (dried)
1. Wash hands with soap and water.
2. Combine apple juice and water. Bring to a boil.
3. Add beans and simmer for 2 1/2 hours until beans are tender.
4. Drain beans, reserve the liquid.
5. Put beans and other ingredients in greased baking dish.
6. Cover and bake at 250 degrees for three to four hours.
7. Uncover the last hour of baking and add some reserved liquid if beans become dry.
For nutrition information, visit http://www.bit.ly/3kmAPZg.