Is there an expiration date to dried beans??

dirtgirl07December 26, 2009

I just found a bag of dry black eyed peas in my cabinet and haven't a clue as to when they were bought. Since they're dried do they have an expiration time? Are they safe to use?

Thanks! Beth

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Perfectly safe....but will take longer to cook....perhaps lots longer!
Linda C

    Bookmark   December 26, 2009 at 11:02PM
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Thanks Linda!

You wouldn't happen to know if you treat them the same way as other dried beans, pre-soaking overnight, or pre-boiling?

I haven't looked at the bag to see if it has any instructions..

    Bookmark   December 26, 2009 at 11:28PM
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For everything "bean", check out the link below for the Bean Bible.

For the most part, beans will keep indefinitely if stored below 70°F in a tightly covered container in a dry place. High temperature and humidity, as well as age, lengthen the cooking time, but you prepare them like you otherwise would. You may find you need to add some hot water to the mixture if they take longer than normal to finish cooking.

I tend to mill older beans into bean flour and have a number of uses for it. Bean flour cooks in 3-minutes, no matter how old the beans are.

Old beans CAN get bitter-tasting, so you may want to test them by "cooking" a small amount using a Thermos method, before wasting time and effort on the whole bag. I generally use this method for "cooking" small amounts of beans. This method works best in a quality Thermos (like a Stanley or Nissan), not a lunch box type Thermos. You can also use this method for "cooking" small amounts of whole grains and pasta. Keeps the heat out of the kitchen in the summer.

Fill a Thermos with hot water to pre-heat it (5-10 minutes). Dump out the hot water, add 1/2-cup dried beans and fill the Thermos with boiling water. Add the stopper and lid. Lay the Thermos on it's side (for better distribution) and allow the beans to "cook" overnight (or 8-12-hours). Drain. If the beans still aren't tender, add more boiling water and allow to "cook" a few more hours before checking for doneness. When they are done, taste to see if they are bitter.


Here is a link that might be useful: Bean Bible

    Bookmark   December 27, 2009 at 7:22AM
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OOPS... I forgot to add, the 1/2-cup Thermos-cooked beans need to be soaked (traditional method) before you "cook" them in a Thermos. (Engage brain before moving fingers....;-)


    Bookmark   December 27, 2009 at 7:29AM
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Beth, I've kept beans a couple of years in my pantry, it DOES happen, LOL.

I've never had any problems with flavor or texture, but I've had some that didn't cook as quickly.

I'm a minimalist when it comes to beans, I don't even presoak. I dump the beans, some onions, a bay leaf, maybe some carrots and/or celery if it suits me, into a crockpot and cover with water. Turn on high and cook all day while I'm at work, about 9 hours.

They are always done when I come home from work, I've never had any problem with that method at all. I add bacon, or a ham bone, or smoked pork hocks, anything that suits me when I start them in the morning. Many time I add nothing.

I don't salt them until I eat them, I salt to taste. Elery doesn't like much salt in beans, I like more, so we salt after they are cooked.


    Bookmark   December 27, 2009 at 10:23AM
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Thanks Grainlady and Annie!

Annie, that sounds like a wonderful idea, especially after all the cooking lately. So simple. I have everything but the ham bones. May have to do a trial run before new year's day.

You're right about the salt... It's my understanding that salting them while they're cooking can make them tough.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2009 at 3:15PM
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Exactly what Annie said!

Except I have had dried beans that were old enough that no matter how long you cook they didn't ever get soft enough. I recommend using dried beans which were harvested this year before next years harvest whenever possible. I recently bought some cans of black beans to use in soups and they were from an old harvest and still hard.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2009 at 6:50PM
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I'm sensitive to the bitter taste in old beans. They are fairly cheap so if my beans get old I dump them. I keep a stock pile so sometimes a couple pounds get old... by "old" I mean a year.

Either cook them and take the chance they will have to be thrown out or buy new ones. The energy required to cook them may exceed the value of the beans.

: )

    Bookmark   December 27, 2009 at 8:02PM
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Old beans are a drag, and I think definately are at the root of some of beans bad reputation as a food. I wish they would put some kind of date on dried beans. Yes, beans keep indefinately and won't poison you if you eat them, but old beans can be really hard to get cooked properly, and undercooked beans are hard to digest. Also don't have as much yummy flavor. Would not hurt to soak the beans even if you're a non-soaker. It's a time thing, and every little bit will help if you are going to need to cook these beans for a good long time.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2009 at 1:02PM
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