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Yesterday I wrote about cooking dried beans. I was able to prove to myself that preparing delicious beans was really possible without using a can opener. And talk about thrifty! When purchased in 50 pound sacks, the cost is just a tad over 50 cents a pound.
But long term storage of that many beans is an issue. Many sources will say that the shelf life of dried beans is about a year but in reality, the self life can vary according to room temperature and other variables.
Here is the scoop. As beans age they lose their oils, resist water absorption and won’t swell. If they don’t swell, they will end up being hard as rocks. Definitely not a pleasant dining experience. Worst case, old beans can be ground up to use as “bean flour”.
Storing dried beans in nitrogen helps prolong the loss of these oils as does cool temperatures. Hermetically sealed with the absence of oxygen, the consensus is that you can plan on a storage life of 8-10 years at a stable temperature of 70oF and even longer if stored at cooler temperatures.
Okay, sounds good, especially since I already have a Food Saver. But, as I learned during my foray at Bean Storage University, the standard food saver bag is not enough. I need some Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers .
The following video is great. Although it is kind of long, it shows you how to easily pack up those beans for long term storage and is definitely worth the 8 or 9 minutes it takes to watch.
(Sorry, video is no longer available)
There is a moral this story: Eat more beans.
Beans are a great tasting. They are a cheap source of fiber, have good carbs, and provide high quality protein and plus lots of other other important nutrients. And, they store well if properly packaged and kept in a relatively cool environment.
Here is one of my favorite bean recipes – tried and true a zillion times over. The only change? I will now use my home cooked dried beans!
Survival Woman Chili
¾ pound Ground round or other chopped meat
2 cups water
1 ½ cups whole kernel corn, canned or frozen
1 cup salsa
2 Tbl Chili Powder
2 ½ tsp Cumin, ground
1 ½ tsp Dried Oregano
2 cups Cooked beans
1 can No salt added diced tomatoes, undrained
Cook the ground round in a large Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat for 4 minutes or until the beef is browned, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the water and remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Note: This recipe is highly variable and a good starting point for a big pot of chili. Here at Casa de Haro, we quadruple the proportions and add a variety of different beans. Yes, we like it spicy but YMMV.
Enjoy your next adventure, wherever it takes you!