Appalachia Appalachian Food

Pinto Beans 2

pinto beans
I so enjoyed all the comments everyone left on the pinto beans post yesterday! A few things that jumped out at me:

  • Lonnie said his family called them soup beans-we do too. I never really say pinto beans-just soup beans.
  • Many folks said they always eat greens with their beans-we do sometimes-especially during the spring and early summer when we eat kill lettuce with them.
  • Jim mentioned something I forgot to say-if during the soaking process any beans float to the top-you should toss them out.
  • More than a few of you said you often added a can tomatoes to your pintos-I’m going to give that a try.
  • I got a huge kick out of the funny ‘looking’ comments.
  • B. Ruth’s comment about her Mother mixing white beans with her pintos-reminded me Granny used to do that too. I think you can buy bags of mixed beans too.
  • Kat and SharonD both mentioned putting pinto beans on chocolate cake-I just can’t imagine what it would taste like-but I have an urge to find out.
  • Catherine said in New England they add molasses, maple syrup, or brown sugar to their beans while cooking. Makes me think of baked beans-which I happen to love.
  • Several of you said you too knew folks who mixed mayo in their beans-so that must not be as strange as I thought it was.

Thanks again for all the great comments on the Pinto Beans post!


p.s. One other comment left on the post-was by a lady who was looking for an old recipe for a chocolate cake:

I love all the comments about soup beans and lookin’ the beans before cooking. I have a request from you and/or your readers. My sweet grandma used to make a chocolate cake when I was a little girl that was sooooo good. I didn’t get the recipe but am hoping that one of you may have something close. The best that I can remember, it was a dense, deep dark chocolate cake with raisins added and a chocolate fudge-like frosting. My sister said that she once heard our grandma say that she put a dozen eggs in that cake. That sounds like a pound cake but I don’t know. Would love to have any recipe that sounds even close to this.  Thanks

Maybe you can help her?


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  • Reply
    February 27, 2016 at 8:41 am

    when i was a teen, there was lady that a recipe for soup bean cake! not been able to find it on the internet! was hand written on apiece of paper at an old regular church meeting, would love to find the recipe!

  • Reply
    December 13, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    My husband was just telling me that his grandfather used to “soak beans in the earth” when they’d go camping, before he cooked them. He’d wrap them in burlap and bury them in a hole he dug in the ground. I thought he might be sprouting them but apparently it was only for a day or so before he cooked them, which probably isn’t long enough to sprout. Has anyone heard of this?

  • Reply
    jan elijah
    July 17, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    I always put a a spoonful of peanut butter in my soup beans. Helps to thicken the soup and you do not taste the peanut butter.

  • Reply
    September 2, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Hi Tipper – I didn’t see beans for breakfast on any post – yep, that’s right, friend beans for breakfast. Not to be mistaken with refried beans – fried beans are not mashed. First time I ever saw this was on my mother-in-law’s breakfast table. I thought she must be crazy but they are wonderful along side over-med eggs,pan gravy, fried potatoes, sausage, fried apples and buttermilk biscuits. She used left-over cooked beans, with some of the soup from the beans, a good heaping tablespoon of bacon drippings or lard and let the beans cook down until they began to fry and get crispy. She passed away recently so I make them now from time-to-time in her honor. A must try. Enjoyed reading the blog.

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    Oolaurie-thank you for the comment-so glad you like the Blind Pig! And ours were kill : )

    • Reply
      Sanford McKinney
      September 16, 2021 at 7:04 am

      Our lettuce was killed. I used to hear some refer to it as “wilted”. No matter what name it is given, it is delicious with either young onions or ramps? Of course, cornbread always kicks it up a notch or two?

  • Reply
    May 27, 2011 at 7:58 am

    I’m so glad I found this blog. I had forgotten the importance of Pinto beans – cooked all day and served with cornbread. Just one question – were your greens kill greens or kilt? I know in West Virginia greens were always cooked till they was good n kilt.

  • Reply
    Gary Greene
    February 1, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Oh I forgot Fried pinto bean patties. Mash up beans add corn meal add onion (Ramps) if you find them. Make up so you can make patties like you do salmon patties.Fry in a cast iron skillet with lard.People love this my dad Isaac Green(e) from Cosby Tn made these for us when I was growing up..The Cherokee have told me its a mountain receipe for Bean bread.

  • Reply
    January 28, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    We always, always had chocolate ckae when Mom made Ham and beans. Se used Navy beans, never pinto, Dad wouldn’t have that.
    My favorite way to eat beans is ladle them, jucie and all over corn bread, pepper it and slice green onions on top.
    Gosh I’m hungry now!!

  • Reply
    January 25, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    My Mama used to make sandwiches out of the left over pintos. She would mashem up and add mustard and onions and eat’em just like peanut butter. I tried it once but I’m not a big fan of mustard.

    • Reply
      July 9, 2021 at 1:42 pm

      Hand Pies with soup beans, green onion and fried bacon. We put these in a aluminum “miner’s dinner bucket with buttermilk in the lowest chamber and took it to school for lunch time. We ate under a big shade maple tree as our “cafeteria”. I was so lucky and I didn’t even know it!

  • Reply
    Mel H.
    January 25, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Soup Beans!!! Do any of ye remember the “song” about them?
    Around here they’s called the “MUSICAL FRUIT”!
    Mel H.

    • Reply
      Russell Cole
      July 9, 2021 at 1:35 pm


  • Reply
    January 24, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    I am wondering how it is that you cook the beans and then put them up to use later. I think you said something about freezing them.

  • Reply
    January 23, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    HI Tipper, We love Pinto Beans… I remember them being called Soup Beans when I was a little girl. These days, I soak mine and cook them with onion, bacon and sometimes a Ham hock. I did not know about the ones floating on top of the water. I’ll look for that the next time I soak mine.
    We serve them usually with cornbread.. Sometimes we have greens –but I’ve never heard of mayo in them or sugar or on top of choc. cake… Goodness Mercy!!!!
    My mother used to make a good choc. cake –but I’ve never had one with raisins in it Hope the lady finds a good recipe.

  • Reply
    Farmwife at Midlife
    January 23, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Hi Tipper, thanks for the shout-out!
    Yes, you are absolutely right. I described baked beans, which I realize are different. Cleaning out some stuff from our move three years ago and discovered a canister of “Jacob’s Cattle Beans” from 1978 that my husband had grown and dried.
    Call me crazy, or frugal, but I want to try them in a batch of baked beans and plant some, too, to see if they’ll sprout! I’ll blog the results this spring!
    Speaking of which, it seemed a bit was in the air today as it was warm here in the mid 30s! I’ll be ready for it when it gets here.
    All best to you, Catherine

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    January 23, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    Tipper: Nice write-up on the pinto beans. You did a nice job of documenting the process with some neat photos. Lucky you found the little stones, they would have been hard on the teeth.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 23, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    Guess there is as many traditions as there are families. I never heard of Mayo in the pintos I may try it…then again maybe not.
    I like navy beans with ham in them and yellow eyed beans are ok but pintos are still my all time favorite.
    Here is a bean story…a true story.
    My dad’s brother, Hub, loved yellow eyed beans. They grew up in the mountains of Western North Carolina. When Hub was grown he moved to Texas, Pasadena Texas. There were no yellow eyed beans in Pasadena. Hub would beg his mama to mail him some yellow eyed beans. When he came home to visit he always brought an extra suitcase with him and he’d fill it with bags of yellow eyed beans before he went back to Texas. lol!
    Now, that’s what you do if you are serious bean people.
    That chocolate cake sounds like a chocolate pound cake with raisins and frosting. I love chocolate pound cake but have never cooked it with raisins. What kind of pan was it cooked in? Tube, layer, loaf, or flat?
    Speaking of chocolate here is one of my pet peeves about current groceries. There are some things in the store that’s packaged just like always and it has the same name and brand on it….but it’s not the same. Cocoa is one of those things. It’s the same brand (Hershey’s), the box is pretty much the same but the product does not taste the same. It has a weaker dusty flavor compared the what I’ve always bought. When they’ve got a good thing they ought to leave it alone!!!

  • Reply
    January 23, 2011 at 10:10 am

    We are getting a crock pot going right now. I like to add bay leaves to my beans while they are cooking (pull them out before eating). Snow is falling heavily outside, that should make the beans even tastier!

  • Reply
    January 23, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    I forgot to mention on the other post that my husband’s mother made bean cakes out of left over pinto beans. And you will never believe what I found one time when I was checking the beans for little rocks and such…a small petrified frog! I couldn’t believe it. We called the company and they sent us a box full of their products.

  • Reply
    January 23, 2011 at 9:13 am

    I imagine there are thousands of ways to cook with pinto, or soup beans, as you call them.
    A good ol’ ham bone and lots of onion is my favorite way.
    Thanks for the information. Love the music on your site. Fantastic!

  • Reply
    January 23, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Tipper, I always cook a small peeled potatoes with my soup beans, BUT DON”T EAT THE POTATO!!! LOL They are as good a meal as any with mayo or chow-chow, greens or polk-salad, fried taters, and corn bread…..Makes me hungry just talking about them!!! Thanks for having this blog Tipper!!!! Are you ready for the snow that is coming????? YES I AM …… ♥ I LOVE IT!!!!!

  • Reply
    kathryn magendie
    January 23, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Good Lawd! Mayo on beans? Beans on cake? I’m turning over in my grave and I ain’t dead yet! *laughing*
    Always love hearing what and how other people eat!

  • Reply
    January 23, 2011 at 10:38 am

    We used to eat pinto beans by the gallons when I was a kid. Mom always cooked greens, cornbread, and fried potatoes…extra crispy. I can’t quite get my pot of pintos to taste as good as my moms. Maybe it is all that good fat that she used!

  • Reply
    January 23, 2011 at 8:25 am

    that does it, i’m doing beans in the crockpot today. I”m hoping i have pintos in the cupboard, but i know i have something 🙂

  • Reply
    January 22, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    This reminds me of my granny…she would always fix a pot of beans and the have a glass of cold mix with crumbled up cornbread in it. Every time I eat pinto beans I think of that…I will have to fix that for my kids!

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    January 22, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    We just called them “ham and beans”…sometimes it was pinto and sometimes it was navy or white beans….no matter….it sure is good with corn bread… Interesting that you can bake cakes, fudges etc with them…

  • Reply
    January 22, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    We always called them soup beans too. They are good and good for you!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    January 22, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    We called the navy beans the soup beans. There was a little cafe when I was a kid that made the best navy bean soup ever!

  • Reply
    January 22, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    We too love ” soup ” beans. With my beans my favorite thing to go with them is stewed potatoes, cornbread and sour kraut or instead of the kraut I like mixed greens and of course the chow chow on the beans. Yum

  • Reply
    B Ruth
    January 22, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Hey Tipper,
    The stock of legumes that I keep on hand most all the time…
    Pinto beans, White beans, Large dried Butter beans, Blackeyed peas, Lentils, Black beans and small bags of dried English peas or split peas..We usually have Sugar Snaps, Crowder peas, Green beans in the freezer..We used to raise Fordhook Limas, Speckled butter beans and Crowder peas, but that’s a lot of garden for two now..LOL
    I don’t make them anymore but used to make from scratch, baked beans with Navy beans..they take a long time to bake and get’em right with molasses and all..
    My kids loved ketchup on their pintos as do the rest of mayo..
    I may try those dried tomatos in my pintos next time..that Jim mentioned..
    I usually reserve tomatoes for changing up blackeyed peas for the next day meal adding tomatoes, a little red pepper, a little sugar etc..almost hoppin’ john leftover but not quite…
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    January 22, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    I make a mock pecan pie from pintos that is to die for and make fudge and frostings from pintos too. They really are quite versatile,just cant be scared about trying them. The cake sounds like a chocolate pound cake to me

  • Reply
    January 22, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    Hi Tipper!!
    I cooked pinto beans this week, seasoned with bacon. Then I had collard greens, BBQ pork roast, corn bread, pepper relish….It was a great week at the kitchen table. Your picture of the pintos looks so good. The onion on the plate… YUM! Pinto beans without onions just aren’t the same.
    I need to stay and check out all of your posts. It’s been awhile since I have been for a visit.
    Have a super weekend!
    😉 Marilyn

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    January 22, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Tipper–You can buy all kinds of combinations of dried beans, including nine and sixteen bean combos intended primarily for soup. Better still, dry your own. I saved dried field (or crowder, or clay, or knuckle hull, or whatever you want to call them) peas and lima beans this summer (just pull up the vines when the main harvest is over; there will always be beans/peas you’ve missed). Grandpa Joe always planted October beans with his field corn, and when we stripped the fodder to use as feed in the fall we would pull off the bean pods as well. After putting them on a bunch of old tow sacks sewn together, we’d beat them with a flail, then repeatedly toss the beans in the air on a breezy day until most of the chaff was blown away).
    If anyone mentioned eating soup beans with chowchow I missed it. I love the combination with pintos or indeed dried beans of any type.
    Jim Casada
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    January 22, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    We always called them soup beans
    too. Its a good thing I wasn’t
    sitting across the table from you
    in the first picture cause you
    already breaded the beans. And
    everytime you turned your head,
    I’d steal a shovel full. ( And I
    eat with a big spoon ) Enjoy all
    the folks and their comments of
    these posts. It just feels good
    to be here…Ken

  • Reply
    January 22, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    We call them soup beans too. I thought it was just us. Ha! Anyhow our other favorite way to eat them is mixed straight up with kraut. That’s my favorite!

  • Reply
    January 22, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    this is all news to me, the comments made yesterday I mean. not sure if i would like them on chocolate cake thouggh.
    i just came home and on the way I heard Lorena, by Blain Sprouse. Appalachian Mountain Fiddler. have you heard that song? i almost cried with joy.

  • Reply
    January 22, 2011 at 11:34 am

    I’ve made cakes with beans. It’s wonderful tasting & healthy. Here’s a few links to some similar recipes:
    I didn’t get to read all the comments, but I always thought you were supposed to put homemade sauerkraut & cornbread in your bowl of soup beans. Mayo was supposed to go in the crowder peas.

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