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Best Beans For Long-term Storage

Dried Beans are superstars in the prepping world. They are nearly the perfect survival food. Combined with white rice, beans provide all nine essential amino acids and make a complete protein, but not all beans are created equal.

The best bean for long-term emergency storage is the soybean. One cup of boiled soybeans provides 298 calories, 29g of protein, 56g of carbohydrates, and 15g of fat, more nutrition than any other readily available bean. Also, they provide nine essential amino acids. Dehydrated beans will store for 10 to 15 years.

4 Reasons to Avoid Soybeans in Your Emergency Storage

  1. Soybeans are more susceptible to Oxygen than other beans because they have a high oil content
  2. Some people find soybeans unpalatable when they are cooked like other beans, i.e., boiled and eaten with salt. Purchase small quantities of soybeans before buying in bulk and learn to use them in soups, stews, and gravies.
  3. Soy has “phytoestrogens.” which are somewhat controversial. Some believe that eating soybeans inhibits testosterone production in men and boys.
  4. Soybeans don’t have the 30-year shelflife of most dry beans.

If you are going for a 25 to 30-year shelf life choose one of the 16 beans listed below.

Mixed Beans

17 Beans That Are Excellent For Long-term Storage

Here is a list of dry beans that are the best for long-term storage. They are readily available, inexpensive, high in protein, high in nutrition, and will store up to 30 years.

Bean TypeOne Cup Boiled

Adzuki Bean29417g57g.2g
Kidney Bean225 15g40g.9g
Pinto Bean24515g45g.3g
Mung Bean21314g39g.8g
Soybean Dehydrated (soy bean, edamame)29829g56g15g
Split Pea23116g41g.8g
Black Turtle Bean22715g25.8.8g
Black-eyed pea (Cowpeas)19413g35g.9g
Black Bean22715g25.8g.8g
Navy Bean25515 g47g1.13
Lentils (not actually a bean)23017.939.9.8g
Lima Bean217 15 g39g.7g
Pink Bean (related to the kidney bean)25215.3g47.2.8g
Garbanzo/Chick Peas26915 g45g4.2g
Cranberry Beans (Roman Beans)24116.5g43g.8g
Pigeon Peas20311.4g39g.64g
Cannellini 22515.440.4g.9g
Information Compliments of the USDA
Red Kidney Beans

How Long Will Beans Last In Long term storage?

The shelf-life of most dried beans is 25 years if stored properly— in oxygen-free containers such as #10 cans or Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. The ideal storage conditions are 75° F or less, in a dry environment. Avoid clear containers to prevent light oxidation. Beans in-store packaging have a shelf-life of 2 to 3 years.

Shelf-life: 17 Beans

Dried Bean/Legume Type
Average Shelf-life In
Adzuki Beans 25 to 30
Kidney Bean 25 to 30
Pinto Bean Up to 30 Years
Mung Bean 25 to 30
SoybeanDehydrated (soya/edamame) 10 to 15 Years
Split Pea-Freeze-dried Up to 30 Years
Black Turtle Bean Up to 30 Years
Black-eyed pea (Cowpeas) Up to 30 Years
Black Bean Up to 30 Years
Navy Bean Up to 30 Years
Lentils (not actually a bean) Up to 30 Years
Lima Bean Up to 30 Years
Pink Bean (related to the kidney bean) Up to 30 Years
Garbanzo/Chick Peas Up to 30 Years
Cranberry Beans (Roman Beans) Up to 30 Years
Pigeon Peas Up to 30 Years
Cannellini Up to 30 Years
Information Provided by Augason Farms

8 Easy Steps To Perfectly Cooked Dry Beans: Long-term Food Storage

  1. Sort beans: Remove field pebbles and anything that isn’t a bean.
  2. Rinse beans: Place beans in a pot, filled with clean water, and skim-off any beans or debris that float.
  3. Bean to Water Ratio: For every cup of beans, add 3 cups of water or stock.
  4. Soak beans: overnight, drain the soaking water, and cook the next day
    • Quick Method: Boil beans for 10 minutes,
    • let cool for 30 minutes,
    • drain the dirty water
    • add freshwater or stock
  5. Bring Beans to a boil with high heat
  6. Reduce heat to low
  7. Simmer beans uncovered for 45 minutes
  8. Drain beans or use the juice as a tasty gravy

5 Bean Tips

  1. Don’t add salt to your beans until they are cooked, it makes them tough.
  2. When beans are cooked, add bouillon cubes or powder for additional flavor.
  3. Process beans into flour and use as a thickener for soups and stews.
  4. One cup of dry beans will cook into 3 cups so make sure your pan is big enough to hold the expansion.
  5. During stage 7 add fresh produce like chopped carrots, onions, or garden herbs for additional flavor

8 Methods to Soften Old Beans From Long Term Storage?

Old beans, beans that aren’t stored correctly, or beans cooked in hard water may be tough after they are cooked. Here are some methods you can use to cook beans to tenderness.

  1. Soak beans longer than overnight (requires more water)
  2. Boil Beans for 10 minutes and let them sit for thirty minutes before cooking
  3. Add baking soda to your soaking water. For every pound of beans ad 1/4 tsp of baking soda (baking soda may reduce B complex vitamins)
  4. Soften in a stovetop pressure cooker or an instant pot
  5. Simmer beans for more than 45 minutes
  6. Avoid adding salt or anything with salt in it until after the beans are cooked to tenderness.
  7. Avoid adding anything acidic to beans (canned tomatoes) until after they are cooked.
  8. Freeze Beans
    1. Boil beans for thirty minutes
    2. Let Beans cool
    3. Freeze Beans
    4. Place Frozen Beans in a Pot of Water and let them soak overnight
    5. Cook Beans: Bring to a boil, simmer for 45 minutes or until tender.

What is The Fastest Method For Cooking Dried Beans From Long Term Storage?

The fastest method for cooking dried beans is with a pressure cooker. It takes 25 minutes to cook one pound of dried beans. An Instant pot will cook beans in 30 minutes, and Traditional stove-top cooking takes 45 minutes to 2 hours depending on how long the beans were pre-soaked.

Which is Better For Long Term Emergency Storage, Dry or Canned Beans?

The nutritional content is about the same for dry and canned beans, but dry beans are better for long-term storage. They are much less expensive, you get more calories for your money, they are lightweight, take up less storage space, have zero sodium, and you can sprout them for fresh greens.

That said, dried and canned beans have a place in your emergency food storage.

9 Reasons to Store Canned Beans: Long Term Food Storage

  1. Canned beans include water inside the can, so you don’t need to consider your emergency water supply when prepping. 1 cup of dry beans requires 3 cups of clean water
  2. Immediately usable: just open the can and eat
  3. You don’t need fuel. You can eat canned beans cold.
  4. Stay Hidden: You don’t have to start a fire.
  5. If water is scarce or starting a fire is an issue, canned beans work well at bug-out locations or in a bug-out vehicle.
  6. Canned beans are too heavy to carry bugging out on foot.
  7. Warming canned beans takes minutes. Prepping dry beans could take hours if you are filtering water, preparing beans, and gathering firewood.
  8. Cans are tough and self-contained
Dried Beans

6 Reasons to Store Dry Beans: Long Term Food Storage

Dry beans are the best option for bugging in or staying in place. Mainly because they are inexpensive and provide excellent nutritional value for the money spent.

Dried Beans are not the best option for bugging out on foot because they take: time, fuel, and water to prepare.

  1. Dry beans are light-weight because they don’t contain water. If you have plenty of time, water, and fuel, you can carry them in a bug-out bag.
  2. Much Less Expensive than canned beans
  3. Can Be Sprouted for micro-greens
  4. Less Storage Space Required
  5. Grind into flour and use as a thickening agent for soups and stews
  6. You control how much salt to add
Stewed Lentils

What Can I Make With Beans in My Emergency Food Storage?

Beans are extremely flexible food. There are so many recipes available it would be impossible to list them. The following are 11 common uses for cooked beans. Hopefully, this list will get your creative juices flowing and help with your meal planning.

  1. Soup
  2. Stew
  3. Ground to flour as a thickener
    1. For baked bread
    2. Ground to flour or mashed to create a dip for homemade bread or garden produce
    3. Used as a filling for pastries and other food items
  4. Beans and Rice (Offer excellent nutrition when combined)
  5. Boiled with salt
  6. Refried Beans
  7. Add to garden produce
  8. Warm or hot salad(s)

Fact: Japanese cuisine often includes sweet adzuki bean-paste for baked goods and desserts.

How Do You Store Beans In Long-Term Storage?

If you are purchasing beans professionally packaged, the best storage method is hands down hermetically sealed #10 cans. For the average prepper, the best “Do it yourself” method of bean storage is sealed Mylar bags, a food-grade bucket with a sealable lid, and oxygen absorbers.

6 Reasons #10 Cans Are The Best Storage Method For Dry Bean Storage

  1. #10 Cans are tough. All other methods of storage, including food-grade pails, can be contaminated by rodents
  2. #10 Cans keep light off of your beans preventing light oxidation
  3. They reliably hold an oxygen barrier
  4. #10 cans have a food-grade enamel coating on the inside that keeps food from reacting with the metal in the can
  5. Expose a manageable amount of food to air. Once a storage container is open, the clock starts ticking for expiration. A 5-gallon bucket holds a lot of beans.
  6. Cans are relatively lightweight compared to 5-gallon food-grade buckets

Fact: You may or may not have access to a cannery in your area. Store-bought beans, commercially packaged, might be your only option.

8 Reasons Mylar & Food Grade Pails Are the Best DIY Storage For Beans

Using Mylar bags or food-grade buckets individually isn’t the best option for bean storage. Together they create a tough oxygen-free environment when used with oxygen absorbers.

  1. Quality Mylar bags hold a good seal, but they are delicate.
  2. Mylar bags alone are susceptible to rodent damage.
  3. 5-gallon food-grade buckets don’t hold a great seal, but they aren’t easily damaged
  4. 5-gallon food-grade buckets are porous so even if you get a seal there is an exchange of air
  5. Both mylar bags and food-grade pails protect food from light oxidation so you get double protection.
  6. Food-grade pails alone hold 35 lbs of beans. This is a lot of food to expose to oxygen.
  7. When used together you can choose smaller Mylar bags to store in the bucket, leaving the majority of beans sealed.
  8. Mylar bags, food-grade buckets, and oxygen absorbers are readily available

Warning: Beans stored in an oxygen-free environment must be stored at less than 10% moisture content or food spoilage such as botulism can occur.

Warning: Don’t store your beans in a container used to store non-food-grade items, or if you don’t know what was stored in them or if the bucket is not food-grade plastic

7 Reasons To Store Dry Beans with White Rice: Emergency Food Storage

  1. Together they Provide 9 Essential Amino Acids
  2. Provide a complete protein
  3. Great Base for found or foraged food(s) like garden produce eggs or game
  4. Store without refrigeration
  5. 30 Year Shelf-life
  6. Proven Track Record: Most central and South American Countries have eaten beans and rice daily for thousands of years. The poor in nations such as Brazil eat a diet of just beans and rice with the occasional addition of vegetables, meat, or eggs.
  7. Inexpensive

Survive on Just Beans and Rice: Long Term Emergency Food Storage

This article is about “Beans,” but The awesomeness of beans and rice in combination can’t be overlooked when it comes to emergency food storage. Not only will beans and rice store for up to 30 years, but they also provide nine essential amino acids and are considered a complete protein source.

People worldwide survive on just beans and rice but do not get all of the nutrients necessary for a healthy body. Supplementing with meat, or eggs for fat, and garden produce for micronutrients would make for complete nutrition.

To learn more about white rice check out Ready Squirrels article: The Best Way To Store Rice Long Term


One of the best available resources for long-term preppers. LDS Preparedness Manual PDF Click Here

For a comprehensive view of emergency food storage check out Ready Squirrel’s article, How Much Food to Stockpile Per Person

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