November 3, 2018 Season 5, Episode 38
”Setting the Table on this episode with Seed Saving”
Seed Saver/Author Ben Cohen’s new book “From Our Seeds & Their Keepers”, A Collection of Stories.

- The feature of this episode is an old time Appalachian tradition, saving seeds, particularly bean seeds. Seed saver Ben Cohen has written a brand new book entitled “From our Seeds and their Keepers”, A Collection of Stories, with forward written by Seed Saver Bill Best or Berea, KY.

We hear a story of a bean that Ben has saved and returned to the Cades Cove Museum in Blount County, TN that was originally from Kermit Caughron - one of the last people to live in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. 

- Amy shares a soup bean recipe to share with you that might rival your Mamaw’s.

- Fred Sauceman shares a segment on an assortment of Appalachian beans, terms of Appalachian bean preparations, and a short story of the “Noble Bean” that was saved by Seed Saver Bill Best of Berea, Kentucky.


Ben and Heather Cohen:

Kermit Caughron information:

Cades Cove Preservation Association:

Fred Sauceman:

Jeff Barbara and Sara Pickle Music:

Emi Sunshine:

Soup Bean Recipe: Just keep scrolling, its down there at the end there.

Connect with Ben:
Kermit and Lois Caughron

Kermit and Lois Caughron

Kermit Caughron with Cades Cove in the back ground

Kermit Caughron with Cades Cove in the back ground

Amy Campbell’s Soup Bean Recipe

*You will need a large stock pot for this recipe

Prep time: 30 minutes (after beans are prepared for cooking, involves soaking overnight)

*I like to cook my beans in the morning the day before I need them. After they simmer until Noon, I let them cool all day, then refrigerate overnight. The next day the flavors will have seasoned and improved than if you eat them a few hours after cooking.


1 LB dried beans (pinto, lima, or leather britches)

3 TB olive oil

1 onion

1 bay leaf

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp fresh ground pepper

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes 

1 tsp ground dried thyme

1 tsp ground dried sage

1TB vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar)

1 tsp sugar

1 TB salt (add at the end of cooking, omit if using ham bone)

3 quarts low sodium chicken or vegetable broth

*Optional: a ham bone, with some meat on it. I like to get them from the Honey Baked Ham Store.


Preparing the beans:

Clean the beans with cool water and a colander, pick out rocks, and broken beans. Fill a big pot with at least 3 quarts of water (2 inches of water should cover the beans), if any beans float, remove them and don’t use those.

Soak overnight. Darin the next morning and rinse again.

*If you don’t have all night to soak them, follow the “quick cook” method on the package.

Cooking the Beans:

In olive oil on Medium heat, sauté onion, bay leaf, and spices until just browned. 

When onions and bottom of pot begin to brown, add garlic, then add broth.

Bring to a boil. 

Add ham bone at this point. Let boil for a minute or 2.

Add vinegar and sugar.

Add prepared beans.

Bring to a boil.

Right after the beans come to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer on low for at least 2 hours. I like to simmer them for at least 4 hours on low. 

*If you let beans boil like crazy on the stove top, they will get too soft and sort of fall apart. So, watch the pot and try to avoid that. I have learned the hard way.

  • Feeds: 10 - 20 depending on serving size, and seconds.