What’s in a Tin of Baked Beans?

homemade baked beans and wedges

Whether you prefer your baked beans on toast or on a jacket potato with cheese (mmmmm) most of us in Britain love our beans. They are tasty, can be used in lots of different ways, and are a good source of fibre and are low in fat. But do you know what baked beans are and how baked beans are made? Let’s take a look, and then try making our own!

What’s In Baked Beans?

  • Haricot Beans
  • Tomato
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Modified Maize Starch
  • Salt
  • Onion Powder
  • Paprika
  • White Pepper
  • Flavouring
  • Spices

That’s quite a lot of ingredients for a simple food isn’t it?

What Are Haricot Beans?growing haricot beans

Haricot beans are grown in fields, and just like Jack’s Beanstalk, they can climb up pretty high (though not up to the clouds!). They need special sticks to climb up to stop them from falling down. The green pods are picked when they are ready, and inside you will find haricot beans. Haricot beans are a creamy colour.

picked haricot beans


What Does Modified Maize Starch Do?

I expect you have heard of most of the ingredients in a tin of baked beans, but what about modified maize starch? Well, maize is another word for corn (sweetcorn). There is something in corn called starch, and this is treated (or modified) in a certain way that means it is good for thickening sauces and keeping things from drying out. No one wants dried baked beans–yuck! Modified maize starch is a food additive. It is not bad for us, but it’s not an ingredient we need to add to our homemade baked beans as we will be eating them straight away.

What About Paprika?paprika

We use paprika in quite a few recipes on Mini Yummers (sweetcorn fritters, potato wedges are good examples) but you might not have heard of it before. It is used to add a bit of spice and flavour. It’s also good for adding colour to dishes. Paprika is a powdered spice that comes from a special variety of sweet pepper.

So now we’ve learned about the ingredients, let make our own baked beans!

Stuff You’ll Need

  • 400g tin of haricot, or cannellini, or butter beans
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tsp sugar (brown is best but any type is fine)
  • 200ml stocktin of baked beans and plain haricot beans
  • 4 rashers of bacon (optional–we used Quorn bacon to keep it veggie)
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper to season

How Are Our Baked Beans Different to Tinned Baked Beans?

We are using a real onion instead of onion powder, and our stock contains water and natural flavourings. The added bacon just makes it even more yummy and more filling, but it tastes great without it too. And of course, there are no yucky additives in our homemade baked beans because we just don’t need them. Everything else is the same.

Let’s Get Goingbaked bean sauce with beans ready to go in

1. Get a grown up to cut the onion in half, and then slice each half thinly. While they do that, you can make sure you have all your ingredients and get them weighed out. If you are using bacon then you can start to snip it into bitesized pieces using a pair of scissors–be careful.

2. Heat some oil in a pan and fry the onion and bacon until the onion is golden. Add the paprika and stir until you’ve coated the pieces in the pan.

3. Add the tomatoes, stock, and sugar, and stir again. Add salt and pepper and let the tomatoey sauce simmer away for a few minutes.

4. Now you can add your beans and stir them around in the sauce. Continue to cook until the sauce has thickened. And now you have made your own homemade baked beans!

I like mine with potato wedges, what about you? How do you like your beans? Let us know by dropping a comment below.

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