There are a lot of myths regarding how long dry beans last and although they technically have an expiration date, you’d be surprised by how long they stay good.
How long dry beans last really depends on how they have been stored. If the beans were stored in air-tight containers that have not been damaged or contaminated in any way, then you can expect your dry beans to last as long as 20 to 30 years - or even more.
For so many households out there, dry beans tend to be a food item that gets pushed to the back of the pantry and is often never used.
This is all too common and when the dried beans eventually get discovered, most people have a habit of checking the expiration date and, to no surprise, find that their beans are well past their expiration date.
The expiration dates that we find labeled on our food packages are incredibly useful and, for many items, they should be followed according to what the product label says.
However, this is not always the case with dry beans, as this is one food item that can last for a very long time - so long as it is stored properly.
To help you understand this further, we are going to take a closer look at how long dry beans last.
As someone who is a professional organizer of food storage systems, I have had an extensive amount of experience testing various food items for their shelf life. My experience has taught me that dry beans can last significantly longer than their expiration date if they are stored properly and do not succumb to any kind of contamination.
Dry Beans: How Long They Last
Much like so many of the other dried goods that you have stored in your house, dry beans have the potential to last a very long time. When most people check the expiration dates of their dry beans they are shocked to find that most labels only say that they will be good for the next 1 to 2 years. The truth is that they will be around for at least 10 to 20 years, as long as they stay dry and well contained.
The incredibly long shelf life of dry beans is one of the main reasons that they are such essential food items to have in every home. Aside from the fact that beans are loaded with nutrients such as protein and fiber, they are great food items to have in your pantry as a backup for when you forget to grocery shop or have run out of your primary fridge foods.
With that being said, dry beans are also exceptional food items to have in your pantry or food storage when an unforeseen event happens such as an emergency situation. These healthy and delicious foods are one of the ultimate resources to keep in your kitchen for when you really need to eat and are limited with what you have access to. Whether you actually love to eat dry beans regularly or have simply long forgotten about the bag that you have in the back of your pantry, this is a great food item to have in your house, simply for the fact that you know that you can count on it to be there.
Now, just because you have dry beans in the house somewhere does not mean that you are guaranteed that they will be good for the next 20 to 30 years. To ensure, that your beans can last this long or even longer, you have to store them properly so that they do not go bad over the years. The best way to get the most out of your beans’ shelf life is to set up a proper food storage system that will preserve them for decades. If you do, you may find that your dry bean’s expiration date gets pushed back indefinitely. Keep reading to learn more about how long dry beans last.
Dry Bean Storage
When it comes to making your dry beans last as long as possible, proper storage is going to be everything. While dry beans can last for a very long time, regardless of how you store them, they have the potential to go bad considerably faster if you do not take the proper measures to seal the deal on their long shelf life.
When you bought your dry beans, they probably came in a plastic bag, which is just fine if you want to stick to the recommended 1 to 2-year shelf life that is labeled on the package, but leaving your beans stored in such a simple way is asking for trouble.
Although plastic bags can make for a decent storage system for dry beans, they are much more likely to get contaminated in some way. Plastic bags can easily rip over the years - especially if you have pushed your beans to the back of the pantry and keep stuffing things into it. Once, your dry beans’ bag rips, you run the risk of any number of issues that can lead to contamination.
The most common way that dry beans tend to go bad quickly is due to moisture getting into them. Since they are dry, they are naturally going to absorb any moisture that comes in contact with them - especially from things like spills or leaks. If that is the case, then you can expect your dry beans to go bad very quickly, maybe even before their expiration date.
Another reason that your dry beans could go bad in a short amount of time is if pests come into contact with them. Household pests will get into your food when you least expect them to, which is very common with the food items in our house that you tend to forget about. The best way to keep this from happening and to make your dry beans last as long as possible is to implement some basic food storage techniques and strategies. Let’s take a look at some examples.
The best possible way that you can store your dry beans is to put them into air-tight containers. These days, there are so many great household food storage products out there that are designed to make food last as long as possible.
By having some air-tight food storage containers at home, you can really maximize the shelf life of your dry beans and make them last for at least 20 to 30 years. This is a method that can be applied to any dry bean type that you like, as it will work just as well for any that you try it with.
There are a lot of different types of air-tight containers that will get the job done, but you do want to make sure that you are using a quality container to get the best results. There are likely quite a bit of older containers that you have laying around the house that you bought years ago that may not suffice to get the longest shelf life possible. These are certainly better than nothing - just make sure that the containers are intact and do not have any damage or openings on them.
If you want to get the most out of your dry beans, you should consider investing in some storage containers that specifically have air-tight lids on them. Some are fancy new containers and some may be traditional containers such as mason jars - both are excellent choices so long as they are air-tight!
Mason jars are a great choice and they have been tested and proven time and time again to be great for storing food - especially dry beans. However, if you decide to buy some new food storage containers to store your beans, make sure that they have a quality lid that clamps on nice and tight, which ideally should have a rubber lip on it to ensure that no moisture gets into it.
Getting a quality air-tight container is going to be essential for getting the longest shelf life from your dry beans possible. Some food storage enthusiasts have claimed to make their beans last for a very long time by using similar methods, which resulted in them being able to keep their beans for decades.
If you have got some great air-tight containers to store your dry beans in, then the battle is pretty much won and you should feel pretty good about maximizing your dry beans’ shelf life. However, you should also consider where you are storing your dry beans, as this can also greatly influence how long they will last.
Dry beans need to be kept away from moisture at all costs, as this is enemy number one when it comes to dry beans going bad. Although the air-tight containers are going to do wonders for this, you need to make sure that you are storing your dry beans in a location that is cool and dry.
If your home is kept at a reasonable temperature throughout the day, then your dry beans should be just fine in most places in your kitchen. However, if your home gets to be above 70 to 75 degrees or so, then you should consider relocating your beans to a cooler place.
You should be okay with your pantry but one of the best places around the house that tends to stay even cooler is your garage. By keeping your dry beans in a location that has a stable temperature, you should have no issue making your beans last a very long time.
About THE AUTHOR
I have over a decade of experience in food and beverage management, including a ServSafe food safety qualification. As part of this qualification, I have been professionally trained in safe food storage.Read More About Mark Walker