Wash beans and place in a large pot or kettle. Add water and remaining ingredients (except salt and tomato puree, which should be added in the last 30 minutes before beans are done). Cover and simmer for 5 to 6 hours. Check liquid level occasionally and add more water (add boiling water, never cold) as needed to keep beans covered.
If cooked in a crock pot, (you will need extra cup of water if you did not pre-soak) and cook them on the low setting. It also may take a little longer than the 5 to 6 hours.
Note: You can reduce cooking time by soaking beans overnight or using or (1 Hour soak method).
Add ¼ Cup of tomato puree with additional 1 tsp brown sugar in the last hour. Adjust salt and sugar to your liking.