Beans for Holiday Gifts

Bean soup mix in a jar makes a perfect hand-crafted (in minutes) hostess gift. Choose a variety of beans and arrange them in layers in a glass jar, alternating layers of different-colored beans. Tuck a packet of herbs or spices on top of the beans and decorate and attach a card with instructions for making the soup. This recipe, adapted from Family Circle magazine uses eight different types of beans with beautiful contrasting colors, and for something a little different, a curry spice mix.


Layer in a jar:

½ cup kidney beans
½ cup cranberry beans*
½ cup pink beans
½ cup black beans
½ cup navy beans
½ cup pinto beans
½ cup small red beans
½ cup great northern beans

*If cranberry beans aren’t available in your area, substitute one of the other varieties of beans in this layer.

Mix together in a small plastic or cellophane bag:

2 teaspoons chicken or vegetable bouillon granules
2 teaspoons dried minced onions
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt


Directions for cooking:

Rinse beans and place in a large pot. Cover with water and soak overnight. Drain beans and return to pot. Add 6 cups water, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer 1 ½  hours. Add two 14 ½ ounce cans of diced tomatoes and the seasoning mix. Simmer an additional hour or until beans are tender.