This desire for self sufficiency continues to impact how I continue to live on land and that feeling of independence is a major part of the satisfaction I enjoy when completing a project. Not everything I need requires a trip to the store - often the materials are readily available and simple - and the supplies we do purchase tend to be more of the basics and less of the processed or finished product. This last weekend was no exception - and the satisfaction just as real as any project I've churned out in the workshop - even though this one came from the kitchen.
My grandmother is reputed to have said that "no-one will ever starve as long as they keep a sack of beans stored in the attic." Whether she actually did keep any stashed away is unknown, but her words ring true. Simple provisions - rice, beans, TVP, flour - can provide the basics for many meals and are easily stored for long periods provided they remain dry. This weekend's project was tackling one of those provisions; one we enjoy keeping stocked in our "attic."
The recipe I use is adapted from Mennonite's Country-Style Recipes by Esther H. Shank (Harold Press, 1987):
8 cups beans, soaked overnight and cooked for 1 hr in same water, drained, reserving liquid
1 lb bacon, cut into small pieces
2 onions, chopped
1 cup brown sugar
3 cups ketchup
1/2 cup molasses
4 Tbsp prepared mustard
4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Mix well along with 4 cups of the reserved bean liquid, fill pint jars and process in pressure canner 75 min at 10 lbs pressure.
There's just something extremely satisfying with a well stocked shelf filled with jars you've prepared yourself.
Even if it did happen in the kitchen.