Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics > Food Storage

Beans 6 years later

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6 years ago I packaged up 50 lbs. each of 4 different bean varieties.  During this time I've discovered that we just don't go through that much beans.  I have them in the pantry and rotate through but not fast enough I guess.  So as I've been try to use them up the last year  I'm having a really hard time cooking them.  Takes forever and they are still pretty firm in the center.  I know to add a pinch of baking soda to the soaking water.  Any other tips?  Anyone else have this problem with 6 year old beans?  I'm wondering if that's the norm or if the less than ideal storage during our relocation caused it.

CPT Morgan:
I've found the same to be true.  On the most part we packed away beans for the "what if".  Having tested some of the beans recently, we now realize it will take a starvation situation to get them eaten. 

It's a catch 22; if you don't pack away more than you can eat in a year, you may find yourself out of a good staple if something terrible happens.  If something terrible happens, I guess I eventually won't mind eating hard beans.  If nothing terrible happens, they are pretty inexpensive to throw out and start over.

Jeremy Downing:
Since beans are about the easiest things on the planet to grow, perhaps grow them every year. I wouldn't keep beans for a super-long time simply because you can normally always grow more.

I've heard that not salting them until they are done cooking can help with that.  The last time I made beans (not years old) they were still a bit hard in the middle for some reason.  I think it may have been because I didn't boil them in straight water but instead cooked them with everything else I added with broth that had salt. 

Noah Darco:
When you say you packaged 50 lbs. of each kind, and rotated them, how did you package them, and what size containers did you divide them into?

One thing I've heard you can do with hard, old beans is to grind them up right before use into bean flour, but have never tried this. I seriously doubt that bean flour would work well as a substitute for whole beans in most recipes.

I've got Chef Keith Snow on the other line, and he suggests trying a pressure cooker if you have access to one, and says it's because of this problem that he recommends integrating canned beans into your food storage plan.

The longest my family of six has been able to keep dry black turtle beans on the shelf before using them up and rotating them out is about 2 years.

The Department of Nutrition at BYU released a study of the usablilty of pinto beans stored in #10 cans for 30 (!) years, that includes charts of something they call "Mean Hedonic Scores". It concluded that,

--- Quote ---There was a loss of some aspects of quality in pinto beans
stored in restaurant-sized No. 10 cans in residential
storage throughout the time period studied. However,
even after 30 years of storage all samples were
considered acceptable for use in an emergency situation
by at least eighty percent of consumer panelists. Also,
protein digestibility was found to remain stable over time.
Pinto beans can be an important part of a long-term food
storage plan because of their sensory stability when
properly packaged and stored.
--- End quote ---

I find the 30 years hard to believe, unless they had some steel-jawed testers.


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