Beans, no matter what kind, are a staple ingredient to almost every household in every country. Whether it’s pinto beans, baked beans, kidney beans or cannellini beans, they are an affordable, easy, nutritious product and there is so much variety that almost everyone can find a type of bean to suit their taste bud.
Not only are they full of fibre, but they are also a great protein source for vegans, and as the vegan population rises, so is the love and need for beans.
Beans come in many forms. We can buy them fresh, tinned, dried – you name it. This is fantastic and means that beans can last a really long time, however it also makes it hard to know just how long each bean can last and whether or not it is time to throw away our unused beans.
A lot of recipes that call for beans are recipes we can make in bulk and use over a period of time. This includes things like chilli and soup, which are great if you are meal prepping for the week. So, today I am going to be looking at how long we can store uncooked beans for, but also find out how long we can keep our cooked beans in the fridge before their time is up!
Table of Contents
- 1 Do Beans Expire Before Cooking?
- 2 Do Beans Expire After Cooking?
- 3 How to extend the shelf life of your uncooked beans?
- 4 How to extend the shelf life of your cooked beans?
- 5 Final Thoughts
- 6 FAQS
Do Beans Expire Before Cooking?
Like any food out there, eventually beans will expire unless they are stored in a particular way.
To begin, we have dried beans. No matter what type of bean you are storing, if it is dried and the packet is unopened then these should be good to go indefinitely. Of course, once the packet is opened and they have been exposed to air, they will slowly start to expire and after 1-2 years in a pantry they will begin to lose their moisture and will eventually shrivel up. This would not be dangerous to eat, it just wouldn’t be very enjoyable. You can recover these beans by soaking or cooking them for longer than is suggested, and this should help bring them back to life a bit when preparing your beans.
Dried beans will have a sell-by date on them, so make sure you don’t confuse this with a use-by date. This just means the shop cannot sell them after a certain date, however they will still be good to eat. This is also the case for items like dried lentil and chickpeas.
Next we have canned beans. This is probably the most common way that most of us buy our beans. Although some canned beans come with a sauce, a lot of canned beans are sitting in their own water and juices and so this helps them to stay moist over a long period of time. Canned beans are usually good to consume for up to a year past their use-by date.
Finally, we have fresh beans. Usually, we buy beans such as green beans in fresh form. These can go out of date a lot quicker than canned or dried beans. You can normally have them a day or two past their use-by date, however it is easiest to tell whether or not they are edible from their appearance and smell. If they have started to turn brown in color and have a strong, earthy smell, you should probably throw them in the trash as they will not be enjoyable to eat.
Again, consuming fruit and vegetables once they have gone off is not extremely dangerous, but can leave you feeling a bit sick and the taste and texture will not be enjoyable either, meaning your meal could be ruined by them!
Do Beans Expire After Cooking?
Whether or not beans expire is an entirely different question if the beans have been cooked. Most beans will last for about 3 to 4 days in the fridge.
Once beans have been cooked, you should wait for them to cool entirely and store any leftovers in an airtight container and in the fridge. They should last for a few days, but just make sure you reheat them so that they are very hot all the way through.
Signs of cooked beans that have gone bad are often a pungent smell and they begin to form a white colored liquid around the beans. Beans that have been cooked into a preservable sauce, such as baked beans, may last slightly longer but for maximum enjoyment it is best to finish them no later than 4 days after preparation.
How to extend the shelf life of your uncooked beans?
As mentioned, dried or canned beans can last a really long time. To maximise this, you should store your uncooked beans in a pantry – somewhere cool and dark. This will prevent them from drying up from any heat or sunlight.
For fresh beans, your best bet is to keep them in the fridge or alternatively you can freeze them if you do not plan to use them any time soon. They will be good to freeze for up to 2 months and this will prevent any waste.
How to extend the shelf life of your cooked beans?
As mentioned, keeping cooked beans in an airtight container and storing in the fridge can help them last for up to four days.
Alternatively, to extend the life of your cooked beans, you can freeze them in an air-tight container and these beans should be good for at least a couple of months. This will also help to lock in the flavors of your bean-based meal.
If refrigerating or storing cooked beans that are part of another meal, it is best to make sure you check the storage instructions for the other ingredients. Some may not be okay to eat after a few days, and some may not be freezable. This is particularly important if your dish contains any meat.
So, beans are not only a nutritious and beneficial source of fibre and protein, but they are also very sustainable and can last a really long time. Make sure you store your canned and dried beans somewhere cool and dry to really maximise their life expectancy. Fresh beans should be refrigerated and eaten as close to their use-by date as possible.
Once cooked, most beans will last a few days in the fridge, or you can extend this by popping them in the freezer. Be sure to check the other ingredients you are cooking with, but if it is beans alone then you should be good to go! It really is as simple as that!
How to tell if Beans are bad, rotten or spoiled?
Fresh beans will turn a brown colour and have a rotten smell. Tinned or dried beans may go slightly dry but should still be good to eat. If your beans are cooked, they will develop quite a strong smell and a white liquid around them if they are no longer good to eat.
How long are Beans good for when prepared in a dish?
Beans are good for up to four days if refrigerated in an airtight container, and up to a couple of months if stored in the freezer
What happens if I eat bad beans?
Eating bad beans will not cause too much harm. You may have a sore or bloated tummy from this but it should not cause you any danger.
Can you put warm beans in the fridge?
You should wait for beans to cool entirely before storing them in the fridge. You should do this with any hot food.
Can beans cause food poisoning?
It is very unlikely that beans will cause food poisoning, but more so slight discomfort in your stomach if you eat beans that are out of date.
Can I freeze cooked beans?
You can freeze cooked beans. They should last for a couple of months if stored and froze.