I have made a similar recipe for navy bean soup, however I never heard of the baking soda method and I'm eager to try it. I would state that it is a good idea to "test" the ham before you put it in the recipe. Some hams have more salt than others. If your ham is salty, cut back on the table salt in the recipe or use water as stated in this recipe. If it's rather bland, use chicken broth/stock before adding table salt, it will add more flavor. Another tip...if you would like to refrain from using pork products for this recipe, I suggest using smoked turkey legs in place of the ham bone and ham meat. You may want to use chicken broth in place of water though since most smoked turkey legs have half the salt of ham bones or ham hocks.
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I have made a similar recipe for navy bean soup, however I never heard of the baking soda...