How Long Do Beans Last?

Dry beans are a core survival and emergency food because of their nutritional value and long shelf-life. When combined with a complementary food like white rice, another survival food legend, they provide all nine essential amino acids to make a complete protein. Store beans correctly, and they will outlast you.

How Long Do Beans Last?

Beans will last one to two years kept in regular store packaging. Beans have a shelf-life of 30 years if repackaged into Oxygen-free containers such as sealed Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers or sealed #10 cans.

Beans will maintain maximum quality if repackaged and stored in a cool, dry location. Avoid storing next to hot spots like next to an oven, refrigerator, or furnace. Also, avoid storing beans in a hot area such as a garage or outdoor shed.

I’ve personally stored hundreds of pounds of pinto and black beans in my emergency storage using the trifecta of food-grade buckets, Mylar bags, and oxygen absorbers, so I practice what I preach. Keep reading to make ready your catastrophe bean supply.

Where Is The Best Place To Store Beans For Long-term Storage?

The best place to store your beans is in a climate-controlled area that keeps temperatures above 32° Fahrenheit and below 70° Fahrenheit.

Maintaining these temperature isn’t possible for most of us, so do your best and keep your beans as cool as you can.

Finding a place to store your beans can be a challenge so get creative. I retrofitted a walk in closet to hold my emergency food supplies and other catastrophe gear. I moved clothes I don’t wear often to an outdoor shed and my everyday duds are in a bathroom cupboard.

Scott, Ready Squirrel

Why Do Beans Last Longer When Packaged Oxygen-free?

Dry beans exposed to oxygen will deteriorate over time due to the effects of oxidation. Oxidation occurs when oxygen combines with foodstuffs and breaks it down or alters it, affecting the texture, flavor, and nutritional value.

According to the National Laboratory of Medicine, oxygen causes fats to oxidize and decreases bean nutrition, flavor, and overall quality.

To learn more about storing one of the top 4 survival foods, beans, check out the Ready Squirrel article, “Beans For Long-term Storage.”

Chart #1 Dry Beans Shelf Life

Dried Bean/Legume Type
Average Shelf-life In
Years
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 Up to 30 Years
Lima Bean Up to 30 Years
Pink Bean Up to 30 Years
Garbanzo or 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
Shelf-life is based on oxygen-free storage and a food storage container that protects beans from oxygen, light, and moisture.

The sixteen varieties listed in the chart below are the best beans for emergency food because they are readily available and cover the gambit of what you might use them for in a survival scenario, everything from soups, stews, and chilis to making your soy milk and tofu.

The bulk of my bean storage is pinto beans and black beans because these are the types I regularly find on sale, and my whole family likes eating them.

Chart #2 Best Beans For Survival: Nutrition and Calories


Bean TypeOne Cup Boiled
Calories
Protein

Carbohydrates
Fat
Adzuki Bean29417g57g.2g
Kidney Bean225 15g40g.9g
Pinto Bean24515g45g.3g
Mung Bean21314g39g.8g
Soybean Dehydrated (soybean, 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 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

Store canned beans for specific emergency scenarios, learn more by reading the Ready Squirrel article, Dried vs. Canned Beans For Prepping: Why I store Mostly Dried Beans.

Learn more about storing beans for hoarding. Check out the Ready Squirrel article, How to Preserve Beans In Long-term Storage.