Do Dried Beans Go Bad? How Long Does It Last?

Do Dried Beans Go Bad How Long Does It Last
Image: Lucky Belly

Dried beans are healthy and one of the most versatile foods you can have, so you can use them for preparing soups, hummus, and salads.

Since they are more affordable than canned beans, many people make stocks and use them when needed. If you are one of them, you probably want to know do dried beans go bad and how long do dried beans last. Let’s see.

Do Dried Beans Go Bad?

Many believe that dried beans can last eternally even though there is an expiration date labeled on the packaging. However, this food can spoil if you don’t store them properly. Still, it probably won’t happen as long as you keep them in a dry and dark place.

What happens to dried beans is that they lose most of their nutritional value and vitamins after 24 to 36 months. In that case, there is no point in including them in your diet because they won’t be as beneficial and healthy as before. Plus, you can expect their taste to fade away, as well.

How Long Do Dried Beans Last?

How Long Do Dried Beans Last
Image: Lucky Belly

You can keep dried beans at room temperature for years, but they lose their quality over time. Plus, they have no nutritional value if you leave them in a pantry for more than five years, even though they are safe to eat. Therefore, most chefs recommend using them within two years after the best before date.

This rule doesn’t apply when you put dried beans in the refrigerator. It is entirely unsafe because they absorb moisture and spoil quickly. The only exception is storing cooked dried beans that way for three to five days.

How Long Do Dried Beans Last (Chart)

Dried beans

PantryFridgeFreezer
Unopened pack2 to 5 yearsUnsafe

Indefinitely

Opened pack

2 to 5 yearsUnsafeIndefinitely
CookedUnsafe3 to 5 days

Up to one year

 Once you open the pack, you need to store tightly sealed dried beans in the freezer to avoid oxidation and bugs infection. You can also safely store this bean type in a glass jar or an airtight container and keep it in the pantry.

4 Tips to Tell if Dried Beans Have Gone Bad

4 Tips to Tell if Dried Beans Have Gone Bad
Image: Lucky Belly

In rare cases, dried beans will change over time and may spoil due to inadequate storage. I will list you the best ways to definitely determine if your vegetable has gone bad and become inedible.

Color

Typically, dried beans will get some light discoloration as years go by. That is perfectly normal, and you can still consume them.

However, dark stains or speckled beans are bacterial presence indicators, while any trace of mold is potentially dangerous for your health. If you spot such changes, throw affected food away to prevent possible problems.

If you notice condensation on the jar’s walls, fermentation, or your beans have started sprouting, you need to get rid of them. Since those beans have been exposed to excess air and moisture, they are no longer edible.

Smell 

Safely stored dried beans have almost no odor. If you can sniff an unpleasant smell reminding you of rot, sewage, or moisture, don’t use these veggies. In some cases, you can notice that beans reek of pests’ droppings. It is better to throw this jar in the trash and choose another one.

Cook a sample

If you store dried beans for more than five years, you should cook a few of them in a pot to check how long you need to finish the process. If they don’t start to soften after two hours, you will waste your time with this vegetable.

To make matters worse, those beans have lost all vitamins and have no nourishment value. Therefore, always try to rotate your jars and first use the dried beans that you have the longest to avoid that from happening.

Pests

Although you can safely consume dried beans once you have cleaned them of insects, you may find this repulsing. If you are horrified by the thought of using the beans the bugs crawled on, you should use another jar.

How to Store Dried Beans

Your dried beans can last for years if you protect them from moisture, pantry bug infections, and oxidation. I can offer you a few tips to store your dried beans in the best possible way.

Pantry

Always pick a dark and dry place to store dried beans since even the slightest amount of moisture can ruin their quality.

Nowadays, you can find vacuum seal lids online. Use them to suck all the air from the glass jars before storing beans. That way, bugs can’t get in, and you will prevent beans from going rancid straightforward.

Another handy trick is to use oxygenator tabs. The most popular type is dry ice. Sprinkle the beans with small pieces of dry ice but don’t entirely seal the lid. Allow a few hours for the carbon dioxide to replace all the oxygen and seal the jars. That way, you will ensure safe storing the beans for almost a decade.

Cooked

Unfortunately, cooked beans have a short shelf life. They can stay at room temperature for only a few hours, and then you need to transfer your meal to the refrigerator or freezer.

Remember, the drier the beans, the longer you need to cook them. Add a tablespoon of baking soda while preparing the meal to rehydrate beans better and save some time. Once the cooking is over, pick a larger container, spread beans evenly, and pour water over them.

Close the lid and keep your food in the fridge for 3 to 5 days. If you forget beans in the refrigerator after that time, they will spoil. Luckily, you can move the excess to the freezer until the next use.

Home canning

If you regularly forget to take out frozen beans on time or haven’t enough space in the freezer to store, you should consider canning dried beans. It is also an excellent way to save your food edible if the power goes out for a few hours.

The preparation technique is straightforward. All you need are dried beans, water, some jars, and a pressure canner. First, you need to pick over beans to remove any damaged pieces, dirt, or bugs. Exclude those with intense color change, as well.

Then, soak the beans in the water overnight and boil them in a large pot the next morning. After adding cooked veggies in hot jars, pour the cooking water over them and put the lids on. Don’t forget to write the canning date on each jar. You can keep and use home-made canned beans in your pantry for up to one year.

The Risk of Consuming Expired Dried Beans

The Risk of Consuming Expired Dried Beans
Image: Lucky Belly

As previously noted, dried beans can’t expire, so there won’t be consequences for your health even if you keep them for years. Of course, you need to store and prepare them properly.

Consuming raw or undercooked beans can make you sick and potentially endanger your life. The reason is glycoprotein lectin, which can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Besides, some people are especially sensitive to dried beans, and they may suffer from flatulence, gas, and indigestion after consuming this vegetable. You can partially avoid this discomfort if you soak the beans before preparing a meal.

Finally, some studies have shown that these veggies belong to foods that can trigger migraines because they contain tyramine.

Can You Freeze Dried Beans?

Can You Freeze Dried Beans
Image: Lucky Belly

Not only can you freeze dried beans, but it is also one of the most effective ways to clean them in case of a bug infestation. The best option is to put the dried beans in an airtight container or a zip lock bag and place them in a freezer.

Wait a week or two, and then get out the frozen pack. You can clean the beans quickly once you thaw them instead of dealing with live, nasty bean weevils. These bugs won’t bite, but that doesn’t diminish the discomfort when they scatter in beans.

Another way is to soak beans for 15 minutes in cold water, cook them for about an hour, and finally freeze them. The next time you need these veggies, it will be enough to thaw them before use.

You can also pour cold water over the cooked beans and freeze them soaked. However, never overfill the container since beans need some space for expansion.

Freezing with water will prevent bean splitting and freezer burns. Each bean will remain undamaged, and its peel won’t crack. Another advantage of using frozen beans is avoiding additives and preservatives.

Once you plan to prepare a meal that requires this vegetable, take a portion out from the freezer and leave it overnight on the kitchen counter to thaw. You can speed up the process by putting the frozen bowl in a larger container with cold water.

Summary

Although many consider dried beans to be almost non-perishable food, it is not true. You can consume this veggie, but be prepared to get calories instead of nutrients in such a case. The good news is that stale beans will rarely make you sick. And that’s something, isn’t it?

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