Pick out all defective beans, and wash the rest. It is best to soak the beans over night; but if time does not permit, add one-quarter teaspoonful of baking soda to the parboiling water. In either case, start in fresh cold water, and parboil one quart of beans (for four men with hearty appetites) for one-half hour, or until one will pop open when blown upon. At the same time parboil separately one pound fat salt pork. Remove scum from beans as it rises. Drain both; place beans around the pork, add two quarts boiling water, and boil slowly for two hours, or until tender. Drain, and season with salt and pepper.
It does not hurt beans to boil all day, provided boiling water is added from time to time, lest they get dry and scorch. The longer they boil the more digestible they become.
Soak and parboil, as above, both the beans and the pork. Then pour off the water from the pork, gash the meat with a knife, spread half of it over the bottom of the kettle, drain the beans, pour them into the kettle, put the rest of pork on top, sprinkle not more than one-half teaspoonful of salt over the beans, pepper liberally, and if you have molasses, pour a table-spoonful over all; otherwise a tablespoonful of sugar. Hang the kettle high over the fire where it will not scorch, and bake at least two hours; or, add enough boiling water to just cover the beans, place kettle in bake-hole as directed on page 56, and bake all night, being careful that there are not enough embers with the ashes to burn the beans.
Baked beans are strong food, ideal for active men in cold weather. One can work harder and longer on pork and beans, without feeling hungry, than on any other food with which I am acquainted, save bear meat. The ingredients are compact and easy to transport; they keep indefinitely in any weather. But when one is only beginning camp life he should be careful not to overload his stomach with beans, for they are rather indigestible until you have toned up your stomach by hearty exercise in the open air.
More wholesome this way than fried or baked. Like potatoes, they should be of as uniform size as possible, for boiling. Do not boil them in an iron vessel. Put them in enough boiling salted water to cover them.' Cover the kettle and boil gently, lest the onions break. They are cooked when a straw will pierce them (about an hour). If you wish them mild, boil in two or three waters. When cooked, drain and season with butter or dripping, pepper, and salt. Boiled milk, thickened, is a good sauce.