Bean and ham bone soup

Being a Metro Pioneer is all about living off the land and doing more with what you have.  Unfortunately, this philosophy is being pushed to the back burner nowadays.  Instead of trying to figure out ways to do more with what we have, we buy stuff, throw it out and then buy more. 

Bean and ham bone soup is a classic example of this.  Give a Great Depression survivor a used ham bone and they will look at you like you just gave them a treasure.  Give a thirty year old one and they will ask you where the trash is.

Next time you cook a ham with a bone in it, save the ham bone and make homemade bean soup.  Bean and ham bone soup is a cheap way to get a couple extra meals out of a ham dinner.

If you try this recipe, you will be surprised by how good this soup tastes and also how much ham you are wasting by throwing out the bone.  One ham bone can provide enough flavor and ham to feed a family for at least a meal or two.

To start the homemade bean soup, you will need to round up the ingredients.  The main ingredients that go in to my homemade bean soup is navy beans, carrots, onions and ham.  However, I will throw in different veggies or beans depending on what I have available.

Like all of my recipes, feel free to try different things to tailor the soup to your tastes.  I have used celery, bacon and even small pasta noodles to give my bean and ham bone soup a unique twist.  This is the fun part of making homemade soup.

Once you have the ingredients, the first thing to do is to get the dry beans soaking.  To do this, open a one pound bag of dry beans and sort out the good beans.  Once the beans are sorted, rinse them, drain the water, then soak the beans in new water over-night.

The beans soaking

Once the beans have soaked over-night, it is time for the ham bone.  To start making the soup, put the ham bone in a big soup pot along with 2.5 quarts of water.  Bring the water to a boil and then simmer for two and a half hours.  You can use ham hocks instead of a ham bone but I find using them makes the soup too greasy.

Making the broth

Once the ham bone has simmered for two and a half hours, take out the ham bone and put it in a bowl.  Leaving the broth in the pan, add the beans, veggies and a teaspoon of pepper.  Let the soup cook for at least an hour or until the beans are done to your liking ( the longer the soup cooks the softer the beans).

While the soup is cooking, separate the ham from the ham bone.  The meat will fall off the bone and you will be able to easily tell what is good and what needs to be tossed.  Once the beans are cooked to your liking, add the ham back in to the soup and add salt to taste.


Making bean and ham bone soup is as easy as that.  The next time you cook a big ham, make sure to save the ham bone and try this recipe.  You might find the soup was better than the ham.


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