All dried beans require the same preliminary treatment, no matter how they are to be finally cooked and served. Look them over carefully to remove all dirt and pebbles, then wash clean. Soak them overnight in plenty of cold water. In the morning pour off the water and put them in a stew-pan with cold water enough to cover them generously. Let them come to the boiling point in this water, then drain. If the beans are old and hard, for each quart put about 1/4 teaspoon of soda in the water in which they are soaked overnight, also in the first water in which they are boiled.

The scalded and drained beans should be put back in the stew - pan and covered generously with boiling water. Add 1 tablespoon of salt for 1 quart of beans. They should now cook slowly, with the cover partially off the stew-pan until they have reached the required degree of tenderness. For stewed and baked beans the cooking must stop when the skins begin to crack. For beans served with a sauce they should cook until perfectly tender, but they must not be broken or mushy. For purees and soups they should be cooked until very soft.

Puree Of Dried Beans. Cook 1 quart of beans in water until very soft, then drain well (saving the water) and rub through a puree sieve. Put 1 pint of the strained beans in a stew-pan with 2 tablespoons of butter or drippings, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, one - fourth of a teaspoon of pepper, and hot milk enough to make the puree like thick mush. About half a pint of milk will be right. Cook in the double boiler for one hour, stirring often and adding more milk if too dry. Heap the puree in the center of a hot platter. This tastes particularly good with fried sausages, pork chops, or any fat meat. The puree may be served as a vegetable, with any kind of meat. A soup may be made with the water in which the beans were cooked and the remainder of the strained beans.

Dried Beans Saute

Cook the beans until tender, but not broken. Drain off the water and save it for soup. For 1 quart of beans put 3 tablespoons of drippings or butter in a large-bottomed stew - pan. When the fat is hot put in the drained beans, which have been seasoned with a tablespoon of salt and half a teaspoon of pepper. Cook over a hot fire for fifteen minutes, frequently turning the beans over with a fork. Cover and let them cook for half an hour where they will not burn. If the beans are liked moist add a cup of meat broth, milk, or water before putting them to cook for the last half hour.

This dish may be made more savory by frying a tablespoon of onion in the butter or fat before adding the beans. A tablespoon of fine herbs may also be added to the beans to make them more savory.

Baked Beans

See page 28.