In my hunt for vintage dishes, I’ve come across more than a few vintage bean pots. As an East-Tennessean, I grew up eating “soup beans”(cooked-down pinto beans). My elementary school served them as a lunch entree nearly every week. They were sometimes garnished with chow-chow, or sweet pepper relish. To buy your own sweet pepper relish use this link: https://store.lovelesscafe.com/product/sweet-pepper-relish/Relish
What Exactly is a Bean Pot?
“Beans and taters” were staples in our diet. However, I don’t remember anyone in my family cooking with a bean pot. Use this link from the Hillbilly Housewife to make your own Tennessse soup beans: https://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/mybestpintobeans.htm
Pinto beans were also a staple in my husband’s South Texas diet as well. Although the Texans don’t cook their beans down as much as we do in Tennessee, the result is similar. To make Texas-style pinto beans use this link: https://www.cancooker.com/pinto-beans-texas-style/
Before writing this post I asked my husband, “Do you remember anyone in your family using a bean pot to cook beans?”
He said, “What is a bean pot?”
Then I said, “That’s what I thought you’d say.” Because bean pots are a northern thing.
What is a bean pot anyway? Not to be confused with the Beanpot ice hockey tournament, a bean pot is a New England (particularly Boston Massachusetts) phenomenon. It is a pot made especially for cooking beans. The thick walls and wide body make it perfect for slow-cooking, while the narrow top prevents evaporation and heat loss. The handles are placed high on the vessel, and there’s a lid to seal in the heat. Many of them have a ventilation hole as well. Bean pots functioned the same way as the modern-day crockpot, except they were placed in an oven, on the stove, or hung over a fire (the early metal ones). If you’re a born and bred southerner like me, but you want to try cooking with a bean pot, you can use this link to access a post written by Connie, an urban homesteader: https://urbanoveralls.net/2014/01/03/how-to-cook-in-a-bean-pot/
In my thrift-shop ventures I’ve found two really nice bean pots. One is an unmarked version made in the traditional brownware style, and the other is a beautiful blue Hall bean pot trimmed in pink flowers.
The Value of Vintage Bean Pots
Worth: $5 to $1500, depending on brand, age, and condition.
History: Bean pots used in the colonies were made of metal and cooked over fires.
Appeal: Owning a vintage bean pot is like owning a piece of American history.
To read about other vintage items use this link: https://lovemylittlecottage.com/vintage-pyrex-mania/