12 oz. (350 g) haricot beans
1 large onion
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons black treacle
1/4 pint (150 ml) tomato juice (or the liquid from a can of tomatoes)
2 tablespoons tomato puree
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 pint (275 ml) unsalted stock

Soak, drain and rinse the beans, then cook them in fresh water
until they are almost tender, and drain them again.

Set the oven to 275 F (140 C), mark 1. Peel and slice the onion.
Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole and fry the onion for about
5 minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients and bring the
mixture up to the boil. Cover the casserole and put it into the
oven; cook for about 4 hours, stirring occasionally.


36 Responses to “Boston Baked Beans: From”

  1. 1 Henry Barth December 2, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    California Pea Beans

    Haricot bean, haricots verts, great northern, navy bean, French navy bean, pea bean, California bean are members of a large family of “white beans” and best known as the beans popularized by H.J. Heinz of Pittsburgh. Haricots verts simply means “green beans” in French. Native to Central America, it is the most important legume cultivated in Europe and North America today. It also grows in other temperate and subtropical regions of the world. The plant was first domesticated more than 5,000 years ago; and, by the time of the arrival of Europeans, numerous varieties of varying sizes and colours were being cultivated in the North, Central, and South Americas. The first samples to reach 16th century Europe were the dark red, kidney-shaped variety which earned them the name of “kidney beans”. In France, its Aztec name of ayecotl was soon corrupted to haricot, a name which also meant a meat (ragout), and derived from another word meaning to cut up (harigoter). While the French still use haricot as a general name for a bean, the English use it now only for the small, white, dried bean. HThe haricot bean starts out as pencil-thin, green pods, hand-picked when just the right size. It is considered to be a great delicacy in France. Most haricots sold in the US come from Central America. When dried, haricots become small, white, oval-shaped and can be found in traditional dishes from the Middle East to Italy, France, Greece, and North America, particulary as the main ingredient in the American dish, Boston Baked Beans.

  2. 2 Henry Barth December 2, 2007 at 1:57 pm

    And where is the lump of pork fat?

    Buy B&M Baked Beans for the closest to homemade. Never the tomato stuff from Heinz.

  3. 3 anthony December 2, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    Thanks for your interesting comment on that most wonderful of foodstuffs, the humble bean. Nor doubt the lump of pork fat has fallen victim to the food police.

  4. 4 Joseph Batal January 17, 2008 at 10:15 pm


    I was intersted if anyone out there has any information on the old Friends Bean Company? I remember fondly enjoying them as a lad growing up in rural Southern Maine. I now live on Capitol Hill in Washington DC and I can’t get B&M in the can So on my quarterly trips home to New England I have to stock up my car and reload.

    Any info would be appreciated.

    thanks, Joal Batal

  5. 5 anthony January 19, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    Hi, Joseph!

    Thanks for stopping by.

    You can buy B&M beans from

    If you do this through my Old Corner Bookstore (link on sidebar of Friends… blogsite), you will be supporting my work.


    anthony aka 21stcenturycicero

  6. 6 MJ Huerta February 4, 2008 at 4:36 am

    Hi Joseph – About the Friends Bean Company – My uncle Benjamin Leo Ellis actually retired from that company. He worked there as an electrician most of his life. Ben passed away in 1995. We grew up eating those beans as well!


    MJ Huerta
    Denver Colorado

  7. 7 Bob Brander October 25, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    Information regarding Friends Beans

    Friends Beans were originally made in Melrose, Mass. They made the regular pea beans and the kidney beans. The firm moved to Portland, Maine and the Original Baked Beans are made there by Burnham & Morrill, a division of B&G Foods (according to the label on the can) and they are now named B&M. I love them and I feel sure they are the same quality and taste as back in 1930’s.

    However, I cannot now find their Kidney Beans. As late as 2003 or 2004 in Rhode Island I was able to find a few cans actually still called Friends Red Kidney Beans but since moving to NC I have not been able to find them and the other kidney beans simply do not have the same flavor.

    Pleas post a message if anyone knows where to buy Friends Kidneys.

    • 8 Anonymous December 10, 2010 at 8:46 pm

      B & M beans and Friends maybe the same company but the tatse of the beans in the blue Friends can is long gone….

    • 9 Anonymous February 11, 2011 at 4:55 pm

      Food City in Bridgton Maine has several cans of Freinds Red Kidney Beans on their shelf but may soon discontinue ordering them as they are not popular.

    • 10 ruphdraft June 16, 2012 at 5:34 am

      Hi Bob, Don’t know that it really matters but Friends Beans were manufactured on Eastern Ave. in Malden, not Melrose, Massachusetts, though the towns do border on another. The factory, whose building still stands, is in the middle of Malden, more or less. I know this as I grew up right across the street from the place. As it would happen, my grandfather, who I never met was employed there @ period of WWII or maybe just after. Would like to dig up info of that period at the factory if someone has. Thanks.

  8. 11 anthony October 25, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    Hi Bob! You can get them on Amazon if you look under groceries.

  9. 13 Linda December 31, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    Hi Bob,

    I too grew up in New England and loved Friends Kidney Beans. Whenever I go home, I buy a case. However, I am happy to say that you can buy them online now. Here are a couple of sites that sell them

    Hope this help!

    • 14 anthony January 3, 2009 at 10:09 pm

      Thanks for that, Linda!

      If you go to the blog page on this site, you’ll find that I sell them, too. Buy buying them here, you’ll be supporting the aims of this website which is to celebrate and promote knowledge of the American Revolution.

  10. 15 Bill Durland April 7, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    I wasw wondering what happen to FRIENDS BEANS thanks for the on going web site. The real reason that I’m interested is back in 1921 my grandfather was issued a gold watch from the employees of FREIND BEANS so I believe he worked at some executive position for several years before retiring. I was wondering if anyone new the history of the company please let me know so I can pass it on to my grandson

    • 16 Rick Friend May 23, 2009 at 6:45 pm

      My family started, owned and ran Friend Brothers, Inc in the early 1900’s until it was sold in 1963 to a company that owned Latouraine Coffee. My father and grandfather were President and Vice-President respectively. I am curious as to your grandfather’s last name. I may be familiar with it but the time frame may be wrong. Does the watch have any identification on it that shows it came from Friend’s? If so, would you be interested in selling it? Can you recall what position he held with the company. It was originally situated in Melrose, Mass. until the bean plant was built in the 30’s or 40’s in malden.


      Rick Friend

      • 17 John Kittredge August 10, 2009 at 2:17 am

        My great grandfather was Joseph P. Best. He ran Best Bakeries in Roxbury for a number of years in the late 19th and early twentieth centuries. The family story is that he was either partners with Friend’s Beans or somehow closely associated with them. Do you hve any information about their relationship, or if there even was a relationship?

      • 18 Sue Cunningham January 10, 2010 at 3:42 am


        I found your name and this note researching the folks who lived in my home in Malden in the 40’s. I saw their name on the oil burner permits in my basement…they were Fannie Friend, and Leo Friend.

        I am at 90 Porter St. in Malden, and am wondering if there is a connection?

        Please let me know if you could! Thanks,

        Sue Cunningham

      • 19 Will February 11, 2011 at 5:01 pm

        Hi Rick,

        My great grand-father’s wife Louise Eible and Victor Friend’s wife Nellie who was an Eibel were sisters. They were born in Essen Germany. My son is a geneologist should you have any questions for us. By the way we loved Friend’s Beans and cannot find them anymore so we were on the Internet trying to order them. Regards, Bill

      • 20 Susan Stowe April 12, 2011 at 4:40 pm

        Well, who’d a thunk it! I was wondering about Friend’s Beans myself and recall a glorious summer vacation in Maine when I was a teen. There was you, Joey Klump, and Jimmy Downs, a counselor at a nearby camp. I was in my glory with the attention of 3 gorgeous guys at the same time. What fun to research beans and come up with such memories.

      • 21 djemac October 1, 2011 at 11:29 pm

        My grandmother, Peg Woolley, worked for Mr. & Mrs. Friend at their Larchmont Road house in Melrose. Do you remember her? She worked alongside Hilda who was her good friend. I also recall when I was very young my mother driving my grandmother to stay in the Friends’ Marblehead summer house and keeping house for them. Does any of this ring a bell?

        Margaret Cardello

  11. 22 Tom April 14, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    My father worked at Friend’s Baked Beans in Malden, MA in the early 1970’s. Sometime around 1975 or so, they were bought out by B&M. B&M closed the facility in Malden and moved the manufacturing of Friend’s Baked Beans to B&M’s facility in Portland, Maine. B&M made the beans for a while & used the Friend’s Baked Bean label, but it seems to me eventually, they stopped making the Friend’s Baked Beans & just continued on with the B&M label.

    • 23 Harold Kramer May 7, 2015 at 8:24 pm

      My father was Franklin Kramer, and worked at LaTouraine Coffee from 1968 – 1973. He had overall responsibility for the operation of the Malden plant. He was co-inventor of the continuous baked bean oven that was installed in the early 70s. He took me through the plant several times when I was a teenager growing up in Lexington MA. The “Brick-oven” description still held true with this new invention, as they built a brick façade on the side of the assembly. I believe B&M moved that oven when their parent company, Underwood, bought Friends from LaTouraine.

      Anybody with more information can contact me at


      Harold Kramer

  12. 24 Richard Friend April 23, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    I have in my posession a clay [ceramic] pot about 4 1/2 inches wide and about 3 inches high. It has FRIENDS BEANS in cursive written on one side. It is dark brown on the top half and light tan on the bottom half where the writing is. Could you tell me how old this could be?

    awaiting your reply

  13. 25 Richard Friend April 23, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    I sent an E-mail to you but I dont know if it went through,

    Thanks again

  14. 26 Browser May 24, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    A quote “Selected Letters” vol 1 p.174 by the famous horror writer H.P. Lovecraft writing about a book called “The Old Farmer and His Almanack” by George Lyman Kittredge: “I suppose you know that Prof. Kittredge of Harvard has written a book of old New England lore based on the Farmer’s Almanack – its contents & history. I have this volume – you really ought to read it! It’s as much a part of a New England education as Friend’s Beans!”.

    It is hard to get a finer recommendation than this.

  15. 27 Libby Zurkow June 17, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    I found a story of the origin of Baked beans going back to Barbary Pirates and the fact that sea caprains who were captured for ransome, were thrown into the Jewish Mellah (Ghetto) by the Barbary rulers, and they Jews were told they needed to keep them alive. While there, they notices a Jewish custom of making a pot of beans and meat and raisinss and placing them in the commumnity baker’s ovens before sundown on Friday, and then retrieving them afdter sundown on Saturday so that the orthodox wives did no actual cooking on Saturday the Sabbath. These were so delicious, they brough back to recipe and memory of the fish when they were freed to Boston, their home port. And that was the origin of “Boston Baked Beans’. Do You or anyone else reading this know the origin of this story?

  16. 28 Maggie August 31, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    My grandfather was a baker for The Friend Brother’s Company in the early 1900s. I have a picture of several of the men in front of the store which I will share if you wish.

  17. 29 Brenda Barnes January 10, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    Why don’t the company do coupons? where I llve the beans are so expensive, $1.78 for a16 oz. can. Need those coupons, please ,I really love your beans, I love making my famous chili with them.

  18. 30 Ronald Bedney February 22, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    Dear Sir or Madam…I’ve recently had your friends beans for supper and came very close to breaking a tooth on a piece of metel,roughly an eight of an inch long, and approx. 1/16 of an inch in width, light grey in color.

    I realize mistakes happen but I did want to bring this to your attention before anyone else comes in contact with this same problem.

    My address is 700 Huron Ave,suite 13N. Cambridge, MA.
    617-497-0534..if need to call. I’m the can in case you may want any numbers from it..Thank You, R. Bedney.

  19. 31 Ray March 9, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    I’m so disappointed in B&M beans. I emailed them a few days ago about the lack of the pork cube in the cans of beans I just purchased. The reply back was this: “We are so sorry to learn of your recent disappointing purchase of our
    B&M Baked Beans.

    B&M has recently decided to alter our traditional use of adding a pork
    fat cube to the beans to now using a ground up form of the pork. There
    still is pork in the beans but not in a cubed form.

    We will certainly forward your comments to our Marketing & Formulations
    groups indicating you would prefer the piece of pork remain in the

  20. 32 Kitrina Norris Sullivan May 14, 2011 at 4:18 am

    I was looking up the my grandmother’s maiden name. She was Nellie Friend Eibel Norris Married to Samuael Norris from Melrose, Mass. My great aunt Nellie was one of the owner’s of Friends Baked Beans.

    I can remember having a whole celler fool of th baked beans and Kidney beans. Does anyone remember the great Brown bread that they also Made?

  21. 33 Citoyen June 11, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    From the Heart of Maine (USA) and the spouse of one of Maine’s foremost bean bakers, this recipe sounds abominable! Where’s the molasses!? Where’s the salt pork!? Where’s the baking soda!? “…FRY the onion”! We sincerely hope that NO-one forms their opinion of “baked beans” from this recipe!

  22. 34 Mina Fujimura (@minafujimura) January 26, 2012 at 3:42 am

    It’s a very mouth watering dish. Hope to make it soon. There’s another site where a found a very similar recipe:

  23. 35 Bill Russo July 11, 2012 at 12:30 am

    Shaws Supermarkets still sells Friends beans. They stock both the kidney and the pea beans. They are better and less expensive than Bush, B &M, and all the others.

  1. 1 Pages « Friends of the American Revolution Trackback on July 22, 2008 at 10:28 am

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