Is There An Expiration Date For Pinto Beans?

As any good prepper knows, the key to surviving a cataclysmic event like a zombie apocalypse is having enough food to survive should you be forced to live without your regular DoorDash delivery of chicken fingers and fries. To create your stockpile, you need to know about the shelf life of potential goods for your emergency supply. Which brings us to the question at hand: Would pinto beans make the cut?

According to The Daily Meal, if unopened, canned beans can "survive" three years beyond their pack date. Once they are opened, though, their viability is cut considerably short. Opened canned beans only last three to four days and should be refrigerated and stored in a glass or plastic container. Whereas cooked refried beans should be eaten within a paltry two or three days.

The real winner in the bean stocking game is dried beans. According to the USDA, dried beans are considered non-perishable. This means, that though they should be consumed within a year or two for ultimate freshness and quality, they will never spoil.

Storing Dried Beans

After two to three years of storing dried beans, the nutritional value begins to diminish, and after five years, all vitamins will completely disappear. It turns out, the longevity of your pinto beans has a lot to do with how you store them. For optimal results, beans should be stored in a tightly-sealed container in a location that is cool, dry, and dark (the complete opposite of the place in your dreams where the turquoise water laps at your toes). Also, separating bean types may be a good idea as well, to keep one variety from spoiling the rest (via Purewow).

Sometimes even the best-laid pantry plans don't go as well as intended. According to Purewow, if moisture does find its way into your dried beans, it could lead to beans that are moldy, off-smelling, or full of bugs (a true nightmare for any card-carrying members of the entomophobia club). This means it's time to throw them out. But, if the color is only a little faded, they are still fine to eat. The Bean Institute even offers a trick for beans that are really old: adding a quarter teaspoon of baking soda to each pound you are cooking might help soften them up. Now, that's one lifehack we hope we never have to use.