In the movies, you nearly always see people surviving on beans after an apocalypse. Generally, there is nothing left except beans and some liquor. So, this got us thinking whether or not they really do last this long. All of the evidence seems to point towards it. They are sealed in a can. They’re shelf-stable. They contain a lot of preservatives. Surely that makes them the perfect bulk buy food then? Well, if only it was as straightforward as all that. We went on a fact-finding mission to how long baked beans really last, and some of the things we found were a bit surprising. If this is the sort of info you are looking for, look no further!
Table of Contents
- Do Baked Beans Go Bad?
- How Do I Store Baked Beans?
- Should You Refrigerate Baked Beans?
- Can You Freeze Baked Beans?
- How Long Do Baked Beans Last?
- How Do I Make Baked Beans Last Longer?
- Signs That Your Baked Beans May Have Gone Off
Do Baked Beans Go Bad?
Baked beans are a quintessential part of any English or Irish breakfast. The Sunday fry just isn’t the same without them. So, it may pain you to know that the can of beans that has been on your shelving unit for years may be gone off. Equally, it could also be just fine. A lot of how long beans last for depends on the condition of the tin. If it has been dented and left for years, it is definitely gone off. Unaffected tins will stay good for longer but aren’t exactly immune to the passage of time either. We’ll elaborate on this in the next few sections. So, if you want to learn more about how long beans last, you have come to the right place!
How Do I Store Baked Beans?
Unopened cans of beans
Baked beans are amazingly simple to store when they are unopened. That being said, there are still a few things to watch out for. Like many other canned foods, beans don’t like exposure to heat and sunlight. They also don’t survive at all well if the can has been damaged. So, the best thing to do is to screen your cans at the supermarket. Do a little bit of DIY quality control. Choose only the perfectly intact cans and leave the dented ones behind. Apart from that, the only thing to do is to tuck them away in the pantry or in a kitchen cabinet away from the cooker. This is all it should take to ensure your beans are good for months or even years to come.
Opened cans of beans
The storage technique for opened cans of beans is a totally different thing altogether. Possibly the worst thing you can do is to leave the remaining beans sitting in the can. The can is really only any good when it is unopened. After this, it will do nothing to protect your beans and may actually cause them to go off quicker. So, to maximize the lifespan of baked beans after opening, transfer them into a plastic airtight container and stick them in the fridge.
There is really no need to throw away leftover beans. They keep just fine in the fridge and can always be repurposed or used as part of another recipe. So, the best way to keep them fresh is to treat them like uncooked and opened beans. Put them in an airtight container in the fridge. This is important as if you leave them uncovered they can dry out and absorb other odors from the fridge. Before you do this, make sure to let them cool to room temperature first.
Should You Refrigerate Baked Beans?
Thankfully, there is absolutely no need to refrigerate unopened tins of beans. It will do nothing toward extending their shelf-life. However, beans in any other form need to be refrigerated at all times. The worst conditions for beans are uncovered and at room temperature.
Can You Freeze Baked Beans?
Beans can indeed be frozen. In fact, it is a great idea to do this if you don’t use them that often. But, this only applies to beans that have either been opened or cooked. Whatever you do, don’t freeze full cans of beans! The results can be disastrous as the liquids will expand during freezing. To freeze beans, use airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags. Bear in mind that beans that have been thawed will only last for about three days in the fridge.
How Long Do Baked Beans Last?
Baked beans are amazingly resilient when they are unopened. However, this will all change after they’ve been opened. There are ways to keep them for longer, but don’t expect them to keep anywhere near as long.
Unopened cans of beans
Putting beans into cans was pretty much a masterstroke. They just don’t keep for anywhere near as long in any other form. You will notice that canned baked beans have a sell-by date on them. Well, the good news is that there may be no need to throw the beans out when they have passed this date. If they have been stored correctly, this date will essentially become meaningless. It is best to think of this printed date as the last day that the beans will definitely be at their best quality. In most cases, they’ll be fine afterward. In fact, we reckon that beans can be good for anywhere up to 5 years after the date of purchase! In some cases, they won’t be as flavorful, but they will still be safe. Just to be sure, we would recommend reading our section below which details the signs of spoilage.
Opened cans of beans (uncooked)
As soon as the protective shield of the can has been removed, the life expectancy of your beans will decrease dramatically. At this point, the only thing to do is to freeze or refrigerate them. In the fridge, they will only last for up to four days in an airtight container. If this isn’t enough time, the freezer is your best option. Pop them in a freezer bag or airtight container. In the freezer, they will still be good for about 2 months. After this, they will still be safe but won’t have anywhere near the same flavor. Whatever you do, always take any remaining beans out of the can. Opened cans of beans can attract all sorts of nasty bacteria.
Cooked beans will only last a manner of hours if not refrigerated or frozen. So, as soon as they have cooled to room temperature, put them in an airtight container and put them in the fridge or the freezer. In the fridge, they will last 3 or 4 days maximum. If this isn’t long enough, the best thing to do is to freeze them. Cooked and frozen beans will last for up to a month. To defrost them, simply put them in the fridge the day before you need them.
How Do I Make Baked Beans Last Longer?
Always make sure not to pick up dented cans of baked beans from the supermarket. Dented tins can attract rust which doesn’t do a body well if consumed. Apart from that, the only “trick” is to keep them in a cool and dark place. The pantry or a kitchen cabinet away from the cooker is ideal.
Signs That Your Baked Beans May Have Gone Off
As we mentioned, it is far more common for beans to lose their quality than go off. Nevertheless, it is always useful to know the signs of spoilage just in case. The first sign of spoilage is definitely the most important to look out for. If the time is dented, rusted, or leaking, immediately discard it. It will be difficult to tell when this happened, so the beans will probably be very dangerous to eat as a result. As soon as the tin is opened, examine it visually. In extreme cases of spoilage, there will be mold. In lesser cases, some discoloration may have occurred. In either case, these beans will be unsafe to eat. Asides from this, the smell will definitely let you know beyond a doubt whether they have gone off or not.
That’s all we have on baked beans. We hope you found this little guide in some way useful! Thanks for reading!