Beans have been used in cuisines for centuries, and are packed with fiber and Vitamin B. They’re a staple food in Latin American countries and all over the world. How well do they keep and how long do they last, you ask?
Dried beans do go bad, but they maintain their nutritional properties for a significant amount of time. Dried beans last 20-30 years if kept out. Refrigerating will only keep beans fresh for 3-5 days. Frozen dried beans will only last about 1 year. Dried beans have tough exteriors that prevent moisture from entering, allowing them to preserve well over time. If they are exposed to moisture, light, or humidity, beans will succumb to spoiling much faster.
While they may not spoil as fast as other foods, dried beans are still prone to similar enemies of food. To learn more, read on.
Do Dried Beans Go Bad? How Long Do Dried Beans Last?
Beans can go the distance depending on how well they are stored. Are they better stored in the fridge, freezer, or pantry? Let’s find out.
What Is The Shelf Life Of Dried Beans?
Dried Beans will last upwards of 20-30 years or even 40 years in some rare cases. It’s not recommended to eat dried beans after 3-4 years, since most of their nutritional value and fiber will be lost, but they are still edible after this range so long as they have not yet spoiled.The cupboard is a dry bean’s best friend. Dried beans can last upwards of one year if kept in their original packaging.
How Long Do Beans Last In The Fridge?
Dried beans will only last 3-5 days when kept in the fridge. Unfortunately, the fridge is no friend to dried beans. The moisture present in the fridge causes the beans to spoil much faster. They are much better left on the shelf, in a cupboard, or sealed tightly in the freezer.
How Long Do Beans Last In The Freezer?
Pinto beans last between 3-4 months in the freezer and other beans have similar freezer life. If kept in a sealed, airtight freezer bag, they last about 6 months to 1 year, but it’s not recommended. Storing dried beans in the freezer doesn’t significantly lengthen their life by much. The reason why freezers is that it complicates thawing them when you’re ready to prepare them. Dried beans must be boiled in water for a while and freezing them elongates the boiling time even further.
To recap, dried beans have the longest shelf life if stored on the shelf or a cupboard. Fridges speed up their spoiling due to moisture and freezers don’t extend their life more than 6 months.
What Do Spoiled Dried Beans Look Like?
Nothing lasts forever, not even for the humble dried bean. Dried beans do eventually spoil if they’re not stored in cool, dry places and are exposed to light, moisture, or heat. These are the signs to look for when finding spoiled dried beans.
Presence of Weevils: Weevils are a type of pantry bug that feeds off of grains and beans inside packaged goods. They’re tiny critters less than an inch long. If they’re found in your dried beans, it’s best to throw out the beans. Weevils can bury their eggs inside dried beans and end up in your stomach. While not dangerous to humans, their presence could make an otherwise savory meal less appetizing.
Rancid Odor: Fresh dried beans don’t give off any strong odor. If you smell anything sour or rancid, then moisture has spoiled the beans and they should be immediately discarded.
Mold Growth: Dried Pinto beans are usually beige or light brown. Any signs of dark spots, smeared colors, or blemishes mean the beans have gone bad. This is true for darker beans as well, as black beans can turn white if they’ve gone bad. Any discoloration from their natural color should be taken as a sign of spoiling. Also, any sign of mold growing inside the packaging means the beans have spoiled.
How Do You Store Dried Beans?
Dried beans are best stored in a cupboard or pantry, away from the sun and heat. Any moisture will quicken spoiling so anyplace close to water should be avoided. Here are a few options.
Vacuum-Sealed Bags: These are plastic bags that allow for oxygen to be sucked out of them to preserve dried beans much longer.
Mason Jars: Mason jars are an excellent container for dried beans as glass keeps oxygen out. They can also be vacuum-sealed and stored in a cupboard for convenience. The average life of dried beans in Mason jars can run up to 20 years.
#10 Cans – These powerhouses, pronounced ten-pound cans, are exceptional at storing dried beans. While results vary, dried beans can last anywhere from 10 upwards of 30 years in these cans. They are vacuum-sealed, sturdy, and resistant to moisture, making them ideal for long-term storage.
Original Packaging – If you rather keep it simple, you can easily store them in a pantry in their original packaging. They should be good for up to 3 years.
Should You Freeze Dried Beans?
No, it’s not recommended to freeze dried beans. They do not last much longer if kept in the freezer and also cause inconvenience in thawing them out afterward. The best way to store dried beans is with an airtight or vacuum-sealed container in a cool, dark place away from moisture and light.
Dried beans have a very long shelf-life due to the lack of present water and high fiber content. Keeping them cool and dry will keep them from spoiling for as long as you need. Remember to always check for weevils and discoloration before bringing out dried beans you’ve kept for a while in the cupboard. If you have any true stories or homemade techniques you’d like to share, let us know in the comment section below!