9 Examples of Beans and Their Shelf Life

Types of beans and their shelf life

How many types of beans do you know of? Well, here are 9 examples of beans and theirs shelf life.

Black Beans

Also known as turtle beans, black beans are some of the most nutrient-dense legumes. Black beans are natives of Central and South America regions, used for over 7,000 years and are commonly known as frijoles negros.

Nowadays, they are popular in many cuisines across the world, prepared in myriad of ways. For instance, the classic rice and beans is a staple for many. You can also use cold beans on salads, add them in soups or use pureed beans in baking as flour substitute.

Black beans are a nutrient powerhouse and contain choke-full of fiber, proteins, complex carbs and minerals.

Pinto Beans

In Spanish dialect, pinto refers to speckles, hence these beans are commonly known as speckled beans.

They are extensively produced in the U.S hence are very popular, not only there but in Northern Mexico as well. In fact, pinto beans are a crucial component in Mexican-Latin and U.S. Tex-Mex cuisines. They are incorporated in casseroles, rice with beans, refried bean recipes and chili con carne.

Pinto beans are touted for their high fiber content, compared to other beans. They are also packed with folate, vitamin B6, iron, phosphorous and magnesium.

Kidney Beans

These beans are named so due to their shape which resemble a kidney – both color and shape.

With their roots in Peru, kidney bean cultivation is now widespread globally and form part of numerous cuisines, especially Caribbean and Asian cuisines.

Since they hold shape after cooking, kidney beans are great in stews, simmered dishes as well as rice and beans dishes. In Asia, kidney bean puree is used in desserts to make ice cream.

Kidney beans are loaded with folic acid, low glycemic index, vitamin 1, dietary fiber, manganese and potassium.

Lima Beans

Other natives of Peru, lima beans have actually been produced in Lima, Peru for hundreds of years. You can also find them anywhere with tropical or sub-tropical climatic zones.

Lima beans are green in color and are encased in pods which are usually removed during cooking. Use them in a wide range of dishes such as casseroles, salads and stews.

Nutritionally, lima beans are a rich source of complex vitamins like thiamin, B6, riboflavin, minerals like potassium, molybdenum, manganese, folates as well as dietary fiber.

White Beans

There are several types of white beans. Two of them are described below:

  • Navy Beans

Other common names are haricot or white pea beans. Navy beans are another native of Peru and other Central American regions.

An interesting fact is that they derived their name ‘navy’ from the U.S. Navy who used to distribute them to warship sailors in the early 19th century. They were the best option due to being low-cost, durable as well as highly nutritious.

Besides being used in soups, they are popularly prepared by baking – baked beans. When baked, navy beans are great with barbecue sauce. These nutritious powerhouse are loaded with fiber, minerals as well as high levels of B vitamins.

  • Cannellini Beans

Cannellini are larger compared to navy beans and have a kidney shape. In fact, they are also known as white kidney beans.

These beans are commercially grown in Italy, hence popular in Italian cuisines and are used as one of the basic ingredients in minestrone soup. Cannellini beans retain their shape after cooking, hence work well in slow cooker dishes like stews and soups.

They are high protein items, containing loads of vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Red (Adzuki) Beans

These cultivars are popular in East Asian and Himalayan regions like China and Japan. They are popularly known as Chinese red beans, aduki or azuki beans.

In Japan, adzuki beans are the second most popular after soybeans and are used in all sorts of dishes.

In Asian cuisine, they are a common occurrence even in sweet desserts. This is because they give off a nutty, sweet flavor. Aside from this, adzuki bean puree or paste is a typical ingredient in fillings used on buns, brownies and dumplings.

Besides being plant proteins, adzuki red beans are rich in B vitamins, fiber and minerals.

Cranberry Beans

No, they are not related to the tarty cranberries. Rather, these beans derive their name from red-pinkish specks which disappear after cooking.

They also go by the name rose coco or borlotti beans. Like other beans, cranberry beans are loaded with fiber, vitamins, proteins and low calories.

They impart a chestnut-like flavor and are a wonderful addition to any soup, stew or simply sauteed with garlic and olive oil.

Mung Beans

Mung beans are commonly known as green grams, moong or mash. These are natives of India and are also widely grown in East and Southeast Asia. However, you can also find them scattered in other regions of Africa, southern Europe and southern America.

In Indian cuisine, they are regularly used in curries or ground as flour which is used to coat various dishes for deep frying.

Despite their somewhat mild, bland taste, these little beans are loaded with folates, vitamins and minerals. They are also rich in essential amino acids like lysine and leucine.

How to prepare beans for cooking

Beans contain complex sugars which constitute to difficult digestion process. As such, beans require sufficient cooking time to break down the sugars. A few simple preparation tips include:

  • Cleaning before boiling. Ensure you sort and clean the beans first before cooking.
  • Soak the beans. It is not necessary to soak overnight. However, a few hours of soaking help the beans cook faster and enhance flavor.
  • Season as you boil. This is the best way to impart flavor to the otherwise subtle beans. Add salt and other seasonings of your choice gradually as they are boiling.

Shelf Life of Beans

Most beans are sold in dry form. However, you can also find canned beans in local stores. Dry food items like beans can last for many years, in optimal conditions. Here is a brief guide for the 9 examples of beans and their shelf life,

Store dry beans in a cool, dry place away from direct heat and sunlight.

With time, beans start to lose moisture. As such, never mix freshly bought dry beans with older beans. Older beans take much longer to cook due to loss of moisture.

Well stored dry beans keep well for up to 2 years before loss of moisture.

Canned beans come with a printed use-by date. When buying canned beans, examine the cans carefully. Avoid ones with dents or cracks. You can store unopened canned beans in the pantry. Refrigerate canned beans after opening to maximize on the shelf life. Consume opened canned beans within 5 days.

Cooked beans have the shortest shelf life. Refrigerate any leftovers and consume within 1 week. Use airtight containers. You can also freeze cooked beans for a prolonged shelf life. Well frozen beans can last up to 1 year.

How to identify spoilage

  • Look out for cloudy liquid emanating from the dry beans. Discard such beans to prevent food-borne ailments.
  • Discoloration on the beans is another indicator of spoilage.

The above 9 examples of beans and their shelf life is not exhaustive. It is a simple guide to help you use and store your beans better.

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