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Rinse beans. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, combine beans and 4 cups water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 1 hour. (Or, combine the beans and 4 cups water; cover and soak overnight in the refrigerator.)
Drain and rinse beans. Return beans to pan. Add the remaining 5 cups water, carrot, onion, celery, bouillon granules, basil, thyme, pepper, bay leaves and garlic. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until beans are tender. Stir in the ham and spinach (or cabbage). Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes more. Discard bay leaves.