Rinse beans; then place in a large pan with 3 quarts water. Bring to boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 1 hour. Drain beans and add 2 1/2 quarts (10 cups) fresh water to pan.
Add ham, garlic, and bay leaf. Simmer for 2 hours. Add vegetables, salt and pepper. If using the ham bone cut the meat from the bone and return meat back to soup. Cover and simmer for one hour. Stir occasionally.
Source: My Mother.
By Sandy from Graettinger, IA
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