Indian Life Newspaper -

Native Cooking



Last updated 4/7/2020 at 2:36pm

Maple sap is dripping from a tree as the days turn warm and the nights are still freezing. When collected, sap is boiled down into syrup and is bottled at various stages of reduction as it darkens.

Forty gallons of sap has to boil down to 1 gallon to give us the rich sweet syrup we pour on our pancakes! If you ever wondered why it's so expensive, that's why.

Maple syrup is a key ingredient in great baked beans. Sorry Boston, but this was our dish first! Native baked beans are made with maple sugar, however, not molasses and salt pork. And, we serve it with pumpkin bread stuffed with dried wild grapes, perhaps the bread that inspired the famous Boston Brown? Brown bread made with cornmeal is good, too.

1 lb. dried navy beans (or vary with baby butter beans)

4 cups water

1 tbsp. oil or butter (nut oil is great with this!)

1 medium onion, sliced

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup Real maple syrup

1 tsp. dry mustard powder (I like the mild type)

1 tsp. powdered ginger

• Add the beans to the water and bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours. Drain the beans, SAVING the bean liquid. You will need two cups (if you don't have two cups, add water to the liquid to get the 2 cups).

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, heat the oil or butter in a skillet and saute the onions until golden.

Add these to the beans, pour in bean liquid, and add all of the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

• Transfer this mixture to a baking pot (one that has a top is best for this, if you don't have cover, seal with aluminum foil). Bake this for 2 hours, adding more bean liquid or water to keep moist. Uncover and bake for an additional 30 to 45 minutes until the liquid is absorbed.

Let stand around 10 minutes. Serve hot.


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