It is not surprising to find out that July is Baked Bean Month. After all, baked beans have been a staple of potlucks forever, and Independence Day is the quintessential representation of our friend the potluck.

There are so many different kinds of baked beans that you can make. I felt it my duty to make sure you had plenty to choose from.

Homemade is best (you knew I'd say that, didn't you?), because you can control the ingredients better, but close to homemade works too! Just read your labels and opt for no high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and as close to natural unprocessed ingredients as possible.

Here then, are the beans, all baked, all delicious —

Slow Cooker Baked Beans

Serves 6

6 cups navy beans, drained

1/2 pound bacon, fried, broken up

1 onion, diced

3 tablespoons molasses

2 teaspoons sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper, ground

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 cup ketchup

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup brown sugar

Mix all ingredients together in slow cooker then cook on low for four to six hours.

Tip: If you have an electric pressure cooker you can cook dried beans fast like this:

Rinse and examine dried beans, moving rocks, then cover in pot with cold, salted water. Bring to a boil and boil for five minutes, then soak for one hour. Drain. Add to electric slow cooker, cover with liquid, cook for 12 minutes on high pressure. Using chicken or veggie broth as the liquid will add more flavor. You can also throw in a ham bone, rinsed country ham, ham pieces, and/or a chopped onion for even more flavor.

Quick Baked Beans

Serves 10

1 pound bacon, fried, drained, crumbled

4 cans pork & beans (16 ounce cans)

1 bottle chili sauce

1 large sweet onion, chopped

1 cup brown sugar, packed

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, reserving some bacon for topping, in a 9x13 casserole. Bake in oven, preheated at 350 degrees for up to an hour until hot and bubbly.

Spicy Baked Beans

Serves 12

1 pound ground beef

1 pound bacon, diced

2 medium sweet onions, diced

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup ketchup

1/4 cup barbecue sauce

1 tablespoon dried mustard

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (can add more to taste)

2 cans (16 oz cans) pork and beans

1 can (16 oz cans) kidney beans, drained

1 can (16 oz cans) Great Northern beans, drained

In a large frying pan cook meats and onion until the meat is done and the onion is tender. Drain. Combine all ingredients together well, put into a casserole dish. Bake, covered at 350 degrees for one hour or until hot and bubbly all the way through. Take cover off last five minutes of baking.

Meatless Baked Beans

Serves 6

1 pound navy beans, cooked

1 cup vegetable broth

1/3 cup molasses

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup homemade catsup

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 cup butter

Precook beans either with the pressure cooker method mentioned above, or use drained canned beans, which will translate into six cups of canned beans. Combine all ingredients into slow cooker, cooking on low setting for 6 to 12 hours.