How Long Are Canned Beans Good For After Opening Them?

Canned beans are a busy person's best friend. They can easily add texture to a curry or chili, add protein to a salad, or be mashed into a bean dip. However, sometimes the tin you bring home from the supermarket is too big for what you want to make, which leads to the question of whether you can keep the rest for another day.

Please don't over-bean your dinner (unless that's what you like), because an opened tin of beans is perfectly fine for a short time. As long as you store your tin in an airtight container in the fridge, the food inside will keep for three or four days. That's plenty of time to incorporate the beans into another recipe. This timeframe applies to most beans, including the most popular staples like black, navy, pinto, and kidney beans.

You may be wondering why canned beans, which can supposedly last for up to 30 years if left untouched, suddenly lose their longevity once the lid has been removed. When food is canned, the airtight seal prevents any bacteria from getting in. After this seal has been broken, however, the food inside becomes exposed to whatever environment it is in, which may include pathogens.

Storing opened canned beans for maximum freshness

If you want to use your excess beans before they spoil, keeping them in the fridge is the best option. You may want to transfer them, though, along with the liquid they're submerged in, from their can to another container. Bacteria can accumulate easily in an area prone to condensation like your fridge. The combination of the sudden exposure to the elements and a damp environment quickens the oxidization process, which will cause the can to degrade. As a result, tin or iron will contaminate the contents leading to quicker spoiling.

Freezing is an option if you want to store your beans for even longer. Drain your beans, give them a wash, and then place them in a freezer-safe, airtight bag or tub, covered with water. Stored this way, they will remain viable for up to six months.

Whatever your method, make sure you check your beans for signs of spoilage before using them. If you notice mold, a change in color, a strong smell, or a mushy texture, it's a good sign your beans have gone bad and are best served directly into the trash.