“How long do beans last?” is a question often posed by both culinary enthusiasts and everyday consumers. Vegetables like beans are a nutritional powerhouse – tasty, budget-friendly, and full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
They are also a great source of alternative protein in a SHTF scenario. So if you’re wondering if you can still eat those beans, you’re in the right place!
Read on to learn if that can of beans you found is safe to eat and don’t forget to check out our pro tips at the bottom of the page.
Can I Use Beans After Its Expiration Date?
Quick answer is yes, you can use beans after their expiration date if they have been stored properly and show no signs of spoilage. However, it’s important to check their quality before consumption.
Understanding Expiration Dates
Expiration dates help keep food safe and show how long a product stays at its best quality. You’ll see a “Best By” or “Use By” date on products.
- “Best By” means the product will be at its best quality until that date.
- “Use By” means you should eat the product by that date to be safe.
Optimal Storage Methods for Beans
Preserving the freshness of beans hinges on proper storage techniques. Cognates of beans, such as chickpeas and broad beans, also demand similar care. To properly store your beans for long-term storage, just keep in mind the following:
- Keep them in a dark, dry, and cool place.
- Keep canned beans in their original, unopened containers.
- Store dried beans in airtight containers to prevent moisture and pests.
The following are options for airtight containers that can be used to store your beans long-term. You will want to add oxygen absorbers to help keep out any moisture.
Lifespan of Canned Beans
Canned beans, especially popular variants like chickpeas and soybeans, have a different shelf life compared to their dried counterparts. Canned beans are usually safe to use beyond expiration if stored correctly.
Aside from the expiry date, here’s how to tell if canned beans are expired:
- Bulging, leaking, or showing other damage
- A strong, unpleasant smell when you open the can
- Beans look slimy, discolored, or moldy
If you notice the signs above, or anything unusual, discard the beans and do not consume them.
Shelf Life of Beans
|Type of Beans
|Stored in Ideal Conditions
|1 to 2 years
|2 to 3 years
|2 to 5 years
|Up to 5 years
|5-7 days (refrigerated)
How Long Are Dried Beans Good For?
Dried beans, including varieties like azuki bean, black gram, and green gram, can last significantly longer than their fresh counterparts when stored appropriately. Dry beans do not expire, and as they age, they might take longer to cook, and their texture might not be as good.
So how long do dried beans last? The shelf life of dried beans depends on storage conditions.
Here are some signs your dried beans have gone bad:
- Musty or unpleasant smell
- Mold growth
- Insects or evidence of insect activity in the beans
If they show no signs of spoilage, you can go ahead and use them. Remember that they may require extra cooking time to soften and reach the texture you want.
Note: When using beans past their expiration date, ensure they are cooked well. This helps to minimize any potential risks.
What Beans Are High In Protein?
Beans, notably soybeans, lupins, and peas, are often sought after for their impressive protein content, beneficial for various diets and nutritional needs.
If food becomes scarce and you need to add some fiber and protein to your diet, beans are a great option to have in your pantry. See the chart below to find the best choice for your needs.
|Protein (1 cup serving)
|Red beans and rice, Curries, Soups
|Black Bean Burgers, Chili, Soups, Salsa
|Hummus, Roasted as a snack
|Salads, Hummus, Soups, Salsa
|Chilis,Soups,Salads, Red Beans and Rice
|Soups, Salads, Dips
|Soups, Chili, Dips
FAQs About the Shelf Life of Beans
Can I use beans after their expiration date?
Expired beans may still be edible if stored properly, but their nutritional value could diminish over time.
As beans age, they may lose some vitamins, minerals, and overall quality. If you’re unsure about their condition, it’s safer to discard them to avoid potential health risks.
What is the proper way to store beans?
Store beans in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. Keep canned beans in their original, unopened containers, and store dried beans in airtight containers.
How do you know if dried beans are too old?
Look for these signs like unusual smell, mold or bugs, a stubbornly hard texture even after soaking and cooking, or extra wrinkly skin.
If you spot any of these signs, discard them immediately.
Wrap Up: How Long Do Beans Last After the Expiration Date?
Always remember to store your beans the right way and give them a quick inspection before using them.
Storing food for emergencies is important, and beans make a fantastic choice for emergency food supplies. Just don’t forget – safety comes first when handling food.
Pro Tip: Did you know you can add bay leaves to your food storage to ward off any bugs?
Most bugs and mice do not like the scent and this little trick can come in handy to help preserve your long-term food storage.
When looking to purchase 5 gallon food grade buckets, check your local bakeries and restaurants. My local bakery sells their used buckets with lids for $5 a piece. You can always buy replacement lids if the lids are damaged or do not come with them. This is a great money saving tip to stretch your prepper budget.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bill Montgomery is the co-founder of Modern Day Prepping. He and his wife Angie have been dedicated to the self-reliant lifestyle since 2008. When he’s not working on the homestead, he enjoys tinkering with electronics and family movie nights with Angie and their two boys. To learn more about Bill, visit the About Us page.
If you want to know how to keep your family safe in the modern world, visit Privacy For Patriots, a sister site that Bill started to help fellow Patriots stay “off the radar” from bad actors and big tech.