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Storing food long-term can be a smart decision. Beans are a good choice to store long term, but it is important to know which beans are the best choice.
It can be a waste of time and resources to store any bean long term as you will want beans that have the best nutritional value and will have a variety of dishes they can be used in when cooked.
We have ranked the top eight beans based on their nutritional value, popularity, and variety of uses they have. They all have a high number of calories, large amounts of protein and fiber, and multiple ways to be used after storage.
The best beans for long term storage will provide high levels of key nutrients and can be used for several different dishes when cooked. This guide will provide you with information on the best beans to store long term as well as the best ways to store them.
It is never a bad idea to have long term food storage. Each of the beans below has been stored previously over long periods of time and been tested in order to ensure that they will store well and retain their nutritional value.
Best Beans for Long-Term Storage
Legumes are a very nutrient-dense food that provide excellent amounts of fiber, protein, and vitamins. Eating legumes can help you to maintain a healthy weight, lower cholesterol, and prevent certain diseases. They make the perfect food to store long-term and are best stored as dried beans versus canned.
1. Adzuki Bean
The adzuki bean, which can also be referred to as a red mung bean, is cultivated throughout Asia in China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. The most common varieties of this bean are red, but they can also occasionally come in white, black, and gray varieties as well.
They make an excellent choice to store long-term due to their high nutritional value. In one cooked cup there are 294 calories, over 17 grams of protein, as well as 16 grams of fiber.
2. Kidney Bean
Kidney beans, which are named because they resemble the human kidney, are a great option for long-term storage.
Kidney beans are used in a variety of dishes including simple dishes such as white rice and kidney beans. Their flexibility to be used in a variety of ways along with the nutritional content make them an excellent choice.
They contain 225 calories per one cup serving, 15 grams of protein, and 13 grams of fiber per one cup of cooked beans.
3. Pinto Bean
The pinto bean is a very common bean and therefore also makes a great addition to your long-term storage list. It is the most common bean to be cultivated in Northern Mexico and the Southeastern United States. Pinto beans are used in soups, dips, burritos, and chili all throughout the world.
In a cup of cooked pinto beans, you will have 240 calories, 15 grams of protein, and 15 grams of fiber.
The soybean is one of the best beans to store long-term due to its high nutritional content.
This bean will have a shorter shelf life than the other beans on the list. A dehydrated soybean will only have a shelf life of 10-15 years and they are more susceptible to oxygen due to their high levels of oil. However, they have an exceptional nutritional value so they are still one of the top beans to store long term.
In one cup of boiled soybeans, you will get 298 calories, 29 grams of protein, and 10 grams of fiber.
5. Split Pea
The split pea carries great nutritional value, but also can be used for a large variety of purposes, which makes them an excellent choice for long term storage.
Split peas can not only be used for split pea soup, but also can be pureed into different dips, made into curry, and even added to meals such as burgers or meatloaf.
A cup of cooked split peas contains 231 calories, 16 grams of protein, and 16 grams of fiber.
6. Garbanzo Bean
Also known as a chickpea, this versatile bean is an excellent option for storing long term. It is one of the earliest cultivated legumes and is a key ingredient in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes. It is used in salads, soups, stews, and curry.
One cooked cup of garbanzo beans has 269 calories, 15 grams of protein, and 12 grams of fiber.
7. Black Bean
Black beans are a small, shiny bean that is very popular in Latin American dishes. Although it is most common in Latin American dishes, it can also be found in Cajun and Creole dishes throughout Louisiana. The bean is native to the Americas.
It is referred to as the “turtle bean” due to its hard outer shell. This bean is perhaps one of the most versatile on the list due to its dense meaty texture. This has made it popular in vegetarian dishes. The boiled water from these beans can be used as a soup when combined with other seasonings.
One cup of cooked black beans contains 227 calories, 15 grams of protein, and 15 grams of fiber.
8. Cranberry Bean
The cranberry or borlotti bean is a medium to large bean that is tan in color and splashed with red and magenta spots. It has been grown in northern Italy since the early 1900s.
This bean can be used for soups, salads, risottos, and other pastas which makes it easy to cook in a multitude of dishes.
One cooked cup of cranberry beans has 241 calories, 16.5 grams of protein, and 17 grams of fiber.
How Long Can Beans Be Stored?
According to the USDA, dried beans can be officially stored at minimum for 1-2 years. If stored properly, most dried beans will have a shelf life of up to 25 years depending on how they are stored. This is what makes them an excellent choice for long term food storage.
Storage Conditions for Beans Long Term
The best conditions for beans to be stored long term will be in a cool, dry, location that is no warmer than 70 degrees fahrenheit. If any of these conditions are not met, it is hard to say how long the beans will last in long term storage. These conditions will allow the beans to retain their oils, which makes them easier to cook again and does not allow loss of nutrients.
Containers to Store Beans in Long Term
There are a few different options when it comes to storing beans long term. The most important thing is to make sure that they are not exposed to oxygen as this will bring down their shelf life.
Mylar bags can be a great option when looking for ways to store your dried beans. You can purchase the bags in a variety of sizes so just find ones that fit the amount of beans you are trying to store.
You will fill the bags with the beans and then you need to seal them. The best way to seal them will be with an iron. It is a good idea to seal the bag almost all the way, but leave about 2 inches unsealed.
After you have it sealed most of the way, you can put oxygen absorbers into the bag as well. This will help to preserve the beans and prevent them from going bad quickly in the even that they are exposed to oxygen. Once you have placed the oxygen absorbers in there, you will need to seal the bag the rest of the way quickly.
You can go back the next day and make sure that it does not appear that the bag has any air in it. Because of the oxygen absorbers, the bag may appear vacuum sealed, which is normal, but this does not happen every time. Once you are sure they have sealed, some people will choose to put the mylar bags in a bucket in order to prevent any light from hitting the beans, which can cause them to not stay fresh as long.
Canning jars are another popular choice for storing dried beans long term. They can work great if it is done properly. When using canning jars, you must use a vacuum sealed lid in order to prevent oxygen from entering the jar and ruining the beans.
There are specific vacuum sealers that have a mason jar attached such as the Foodsaver. You will place your beans in the canning jar with the metal lid on top, but without the canning ring. After attaching the vacuum sealer to your jar and following the Foodsaver instructions, your jar will be vacuum sealed and will prevent excess oxygen from entering the jar.
A #10 can is one of the most referred to options for storing beans long term. They can be purchased at places like Costco and Sam’s Club. The #10 cans are made from tin-coated steel which is non-toxic and non-corrosive so they will hold up throughout the years. They also will not let any light or oxygen so you can ensure the beans will be stored properly as long as they are kept in mild temperatures.
There are cons to the #10 can. They are very large so if you are not looking to store large amounts of dried beans, then this may not be the best option for you. The cost of the cans and the can sealer can be costly. A #10 can will typically cost $2-$3 per can and the can sealer can be close to $500. You will also not be able to reuse these cans. So once you have used them and opened them, they will have to be disposed of unlike a canning jar.
Cooking Beans After Long Term Storage
If you are going to be cooking dried beans after being stored for many years, there is a proper way to rehydrate and cook the beans.
Once you remove the beans from their storage container, you will want to thoroughly rinse them. After rinsing them, place them in a large pot to soak overnight. A good ratio of water to beans is 3 cups of water per 1 cup of beans. Once they have soaked overnight you will drain all of the water and they will be ready to be cooked.
The bean can be cooked in a couple of different ways depending on what is easiest for you. The most common way is to boil the beans. Bring the beans to a boil for 10 minutes, drain the water, add fresh water, and then simmer the beans for approximately 45 minutes. This will leave you with soft and ready to eat beans.
Other ways to cook the beans are in a pressure cooker or an instant pot. To cook one pound of dried beans in the pressure cooker will take approximately 25 minutes and 30 minutes in the instant pot.
If the beans are too dry for rehydration, then they can be ground up into bean flours that can be used to cook other items. Some people will use the flour to add it to baked goods or to make powdered soups along with other seasonings.
Dried Beans Versus Canned Beans
Although the beans in this list can be bought both dried and canned, storing dried beans is a more superior option to canned beans. Purchasing dried beans is a cheaper option as you can purchase a very large bag for less than what several cans would cost you. Dried beans will take up less space and have a longer shelf life.
Canned beans will usually only last for 1-2 years so if you are only wanting to store food for a couple of years, then canned beans can be a good choice as they already have water in them. This makes it quicker and easier to cook them in case of an emergency where you may not have water reserves.