Dry bean storage

Dry beans can be stored for long period of time if done properly.

Dry bean storage is something that many people consider as a longterm storage item, but just how long can beans be kept in storage without losing nutritional or functional value?

There are many variables that need to be considered when storing beans longterm. If you are cleaning your cupboard and find some dry beans that have been purchased a while ago, can they still be used? When beans have been stored in regular food grade bags they are good for one year or to the expiration date. After this time, it is not that the beans are bad to eat, but they lose their oil and become so dry they are not able to rehydrate correctly.

To rehydrate dry beans, it is best to soak them over night and then rinse them in potable water. Then simmer the beans for two to four hours until they are tender. It usually takes three cups of water to rehydrate one cup of beans. Michigan State University Extension recommends using the cool water soaking method to rehydrate beans. There are other methods of rehydrating beans but are considered to be unsafe practices. It is not recommended to cook the beans for a minute or two and then leave them set out for several hours. The temperature of the water provides good growing grounds for bacteria that can cause a foodborne illness.

If beans are stored in food grade packaging, sealed buckets, reduced oxygen packaging or heavier plastic (Mylar) bags then they can be kept for ten years or more. There are many other things that need to be considered when storing beans for long term. They should be kept in a cool dark location at 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This helps maintain the oils in beans for easier rehydration and protects the bean from loss of nutritional value.

Beans are still able to be used as a food source even if the beans are too dry for rehydration. Consider grinding them up for bean flour. This is still a good source of protein and can replace other flours as an ingredient. So even if the bean in your cupboard is too dry to rehydrate they can be repurposed to add nutritional value in our diet.

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