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An easy, inexpensive meal that every member of the family will love. Tender and rich, these beans are the perfect combination of sweet and savory. Put them on the night before and they will be ready for dinner the following day.
2 pounds (32 ounces) dried small white navy or pea beans
1 tsp baking soda
12-ounce piece of salt port
1 cup dark molasses
1 1/4 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
3 tsps dried mustard
3 tsps salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 onions peeled, left whole, and scored with a criss cross through root end
6 cups boiling water
Rinse the beans in a colander under cold water while picking out stones and damaged beans. Put in a large pot covered with about two inches of cold water. Soak for about two hours. Rinse the beans again.
Put beans back in pot and add an additional 2 to 3 inches of water. Add baking soda. Bring beans to boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer beans for about one hour. A foam will appear at the top of the beans. Skim off foam as needed. This step helps tenderize the beans and minimizes their gassy qualities.
Boil the salt pork for ten minutes to remove excess salt. Rinse the salt pork under cold water and dice into small pieces. Put it and all of the other ingredients in a six quart slow cooker. Put the crock pot on high.
When the beans are ready, rinse beans again. Add the beans to the slow cooker. Change the temperature to low and cook for about fifteen to sixteen hours.