Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Maine Baked Beans
  1. To make Bean Hole Beans, a method devised by Native Americans, particularly the Penobscot, put beans, maple syrup, water, and chunks of fatty meat into a covered pot, place it in a hole lined with hot rocks, and wait.

  2. The B in B&M Beans stands for George Burnham and the M stands for Charles S. Morrill. They founded the company in Portland in 1867.

  3. Maine churches began hosting bean suppers in the late 1800s when tax dollars funneled to them began to dry up after the Civil War.

  4. Brunswick’s First Parish Church was known for the steamed brown bread served at its bean suppers in the 1970s and 80s.

  5. Yellow eye beans are the most popular variety served at church suppers because of their clean, mild taste.

  6. Plant breeder Elwyn Meader fashioned a bean that baked well but required a short growing season. Now sold by Fedco Seeds, its descendants are called Saturday Nite Specials, given that bean suppers were on Saturdays and the legumes can have explosive aftereffects.

  7. Adding kelp to a pot of simmering beans mitigates those aftereffects.

  8. Fairwinds Farm in Bowdoinham sells dried bean gift boxes.

  9. Beans have less calories, cholesterol, and fat but more complex carbs and fiber than steak.

  10. Beans are nitrogen fixers, so farming them reduces agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions.

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