How Long Do Canned Beans Last?

An opened can of beans might not last as long as you think.

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Stewed cranberry beans or borlotti in tomato sauce with herbs close-up in a bowl on the table. horizontal top view from above

Photo by: ALLEKO/Getty Images

ALLEKO/Getty Images

When it comes to canned beans (and many other supermarket staples that fly off the shelves), folks pay very close attention to how long they can last and what nutritional benefit they can offer. The good news is that canned beans have an incredibly long shelf life, but how long do you have once you crack open the lid?

Canned Food Storage

Canned foods can be stored virtually indefinitely, but both taste and nutrition may suffer as the years tick by. Store canned foods in a cool, dry place; dependable recommendations typically indicate that good storage will maintain quality for 2 to 5 years. Avoid cans that are dented, leaking, rusty or swollen or have bulging tops.

Open Beans

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538181649

Portion of preserved Chick Peas (close-up shot)

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HandmadePictures/Getty Images

Once those beans are opened, though, the clock starts ticking! Open beans can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days; while it may be tempting to store them right in the can, the USDA recommends transferring them to plastic or glass containers. Beans have a low acid content and this makes them slightly more perishable than more acidic canned foods. Acidic foods like tomatoes can stay in the fridge for up to one week.

Draining and rinsing can help to lower the sodium content of the beans by up to 40%, but whether or not you're not using all of the beans, you may want to hold on to some of that liquid. Aquafaba, the canning liquid of lighter beans like chickpeas and white beans, can be used for a variety of vegan cooking applications. Think of it as a plant-based replacement for eggs, frostings, mayonnaise and whipped cream.

What to Do With Canned Beans

Now that you’re well stocked with beans, what can you make? Beans offer an effortless and affordable protein boost to salsa, quesadillas, soups and salads. They can be the protein powerhouse of your impromptu lunch grain bowl. If you’re willing to put in slightly more elbow grease, turn those beans into hummus and bean spreads as well as bean burgers, burritos and falafel.

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