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What's a bean-hole bean? No, it's not a bean with a hole in it. Bean-hole beans get their name because they are baked in a hole. For hundreds of years, the Penobscot Indians of Maine cooked their food in a hole in the ground lined with rocks. The first thing you need to cook bean-hole beans is a shovel!

Recipe for bean-hole beans:

  • -Dig a hole in the ground 3 feet deep and line it with rocks.
  • -Build a fire in the hole and let it burn down to large embers and ash. (This can take half a day before enough coals are produced to cook the beans properly.)
  • -Use dry beans such as Great Northern, Yellow Eye, Jacob's Cattle, or Soldier.
  • -Other ingredients include onions, salt pork, ham hock, bacon, tomatoes, brown sugar and molasses.

Put the beans and other ingredients in a cast iron pot and cover with water and a lid. Place the pot in the hole, cover with a wet dish towel or burlap sack, shovel some of the embers and ashes on top of the pot, and then cover with dirt. Cooking time varies depending on which recipe is used but it can take as long as 16 hours. Then get ready with a shovel and a bowl!
Library of Congress Local Legacies Project



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