Mom's Bean (and Ham) Soup

This recipe was modified by my mother, Mary Boteler, when she sent my father, William Joseph Boteler, out to the grocery store for navy beans.  He brought back baby lima beans instead.  Ever since, we have all enjoyed this bean soup.  The recipe is from Mary Ann Dore Boteler.  - Mike Boteler

10 quart pot or larger

2 - 16 oz. packages of baby lima beans
3 - 14-15 oz. cans of diced, peeled tomatoes (or whole tomatoes)
1 - ham bone with a good bit of meat left on the bone
1 - medium to large onion (chopped or left whole)
Salt and pepper to taste

Rinse beans.
Soak beans overnight, 1-2 inches of water covering beans.
(Alternatively, you can soak them for 2-5 hours if you're hungry)
Bring beans to a boil, then rinse them again.  Back in the pot, 1 - 2 inches of water
 covering beans, add ham bone, tomatoes, salt, pepper and onion.
Bring to a simmer, skim and discard foamy scum, simmer for 4 - 6 hours.
Water should be added if it gets too thick.
When ham starts to fall apart, take out bones and inedible parts, fat, etc.
Bean soup should look almost orange in color.
Serve with Ritz crackers, cold beer, salt and pepper to taste.