Sort and rinse beans. Place in soup kettle or dutch oven. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand 1 hour. Drain beans and discard liquid. In the same kettle, place ham bone or hocks, 3 quarts of water and beans. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, 1 1/2 hrs or until meat easily falls from the bone. Remove bones from broth and, when cool enough to handle, trim meat. Discard bones. Add ham, onion, celery, carrots, salt, pepper and thyme. Simmer, covered, 1 hour or until beans are tender. Add tomatoes and brown sugar. Cook for 10 minutes. Just before serving, add spinach.
Makes: 5 quarts.
From Country Woman, Debrah Amrine