Slow Cooker Chili with Jacob’s Cattle Beans

I was at the Haymaker Farmers’ Market in Kent Ohio this winter and ran across some Jacob’s Cattle beans from Breakneck Acres (located just around the corner from Snarky Acres – aka my house).  I had read about Jacob’s Cattle beans in one or two of my many gardening books and wanted to eat (and grow) some myself.  After a Google search, I found a recipe I could adapt to make my own special local chili.  Converting it into a crock pot recipe made it quick and easy.

Note:  I saved back one bag so I could plant them this spring.  Maybe in the fall I’ll be doing this same recipe with my own beans.


1 pound (aka bag) of Jacob’s Cattle beans
1 or 2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic (or 2 tsp. Garlic powder)
Olive oil for frying
1 pound ground beef
3-4 T. chili powder
2-3 T. cumin
Fresh cilantro
2 Jalapeno peppers
Dash of cinnamon
Large can crushed tomatoes (2 1/2 cups fresh)
1 tsp. local honey (instead of brown sugar)
2 T. vinegar (white, red wine, apple cider or balsamic)
Salt and pepper to taste
Turnip Greens (optional)

Soak the beans in water about 2-3 inches above the beans in the crock pot or a non-metal bowl for 6-8 hours or overnight. Discard the soaking water and cover with fresh water an inch or two above the beans. Cook the ground beef until nicely browned and crumbled, set aside. Sauté the onions in a oil until soft, then add everything to the crock pot and stir well. Cover and cook on low heat for 8 to 10 hours.

Soaking the Jacob’s Cattle beans
Frozen tomatoes from last year’s garden
Two jalapeno peppers from the AeroGarden
Onions and garlic from the garden
Onions and garlic chopped up
Local grass fed ground beef
The finished product – local chili

Ingredient sources

– Jalapeno peppers – fresh from the AeroGarden
– Turnip Greens – frozen from last year’s garden
– Tomatoes – frozen from last year’s garden
– Onions – fresh from the garden
– Garlic – fresh thinnings from the garden
– Cilantro – fresh thinnings from the Front Yard Herb garden

– Jacob’s Cattle beans – from Breakneck Farms
– Ground beef – from Sirna’s Farm CSA in Auburn Ohio
– Local Honey

– Olive oil
– Cumin
– Chili powder
– Cinnamon
– Vinegar
– Salt and pepper

Oh the Plantmanity!

Note – “plantmanity” is like humanity but with plants.

May and June have been tough on my gardening nerves.  May gave us several frosty low temperature nights (including a hard freeze on 5/24/2013).  The pots and leaf mulch came out to cover tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants.  Unfortunately, the coverings weren’t enough for some and those plants didn’t make it (cue the violin music).  I lost 5 or 6 tomato plants plus 3 eggplants.  A few of my potatoes also got frozen but they have grown back since.  Fortunately, I hadn’t planted my peppers yet, since they seem to do better when planted after the weather has warmed up (think June).  Also, the Snarky Gardener has been overzealous this season with plant starts, so replacements have readily available.  All in all, not a complete disaster but I will consider this next spring when starting and planting my tender little friends.

Frosted Tomatoes (how sad) – 5/25/2013

On May 31st, my dog River and I discovered some furry friends in the garden.  I had this issue last year, but it took me a week or two before figuring out that I had a groundhog.  Half my corn crop, not to mention my spinach, my carrots, my cucumber vines, and various other tasty treats were lost before trapping the little basta . . . .  critter (aka Woody).  This year, I noticed some of my carrots had been nibbled down (both inside and outside my fence), but I really knew I had a problem when I saw the tiniest little guy scurrying from the garden into the stacked up logs behind the garden.  Bucky (yes, I named him Bucky) was so small he could run straight through my 2″ X 4″ fencing without skipping a beat.  A few days later, we noticed a second, much bigger groundhog (I named her Mamma), who had dug under the fence to get in for the free buffet.  I currently have a trap set up inside the fence near that opening with delicious apples and corn as bait.  So far I’ve lost a little spinach, all my broccoli, all my Tuscan kale, some carrot tops, and lots of peas plants.  On 6/4/2013, I picked all the spinach just to be safe.  It was starting to bolt anyways, so I’d rather eat it then have fuzzy little creatures make a salad with it.

Broccoli after groundhogs got done with it – 6/5/2013
Here piggy piggy – 6/4/2013. (That’s comfrey in the foreground.)
Woody the Groundhog – captured 7/15/2012.   He’s in a better place now.