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  #1  
Old 09/02/12, 06:33 PM
 
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How long do Rice & Beans really last?

I've read drastically conflicting info on the issue. One place says Rice last indefinitely, another says only a yr or 2. One place says dry beans last forever, another says they become so dry as to be inedible and won't soften no matter how long they're cooked. One place says pasta lasts forever, another says only a year. It's really confusing & I don't want to spend money on foods that could go bad before we've used them up. All of the above are contigent on keeping them dry and sealed from bugs/rodents of course.

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  #2  
Old 09/02/12, 06:47 PM
 
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temp and humidity are to be considered, but long grain white rice in a canning jar in your pantry...at 70 degrees....at least 2-3 yrs ditto for beans....we are eating some 4yo pintos from #10 cans from lds and they work perfect...and 2yo rice just in canning jars

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  #3  
Old 09/02/12, 06:50 PM
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Depends. How are you storing your rice and beans? Are you leaving them in the store package and throwing them to the rear most area of the pantry? Are you breaking them down, vac sealing and adding desiccant pacs?

The length and breadth of your preservation dividends is in direct proportion to your preservation techniques.

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  #4  
Old 09/02/12, 07:30 PM
 
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White rice will stay good for years. Brown rice goes rancid within a year or so - the actual time depends a great deal on how it's stored.

I have pasta that's about 5 years old, and you can't tell the difference between it and new stuff.

Beans do dry out as they get older, and you have to let them soak/cook longer. In a worst-case scenario, you can grind them to powder.

How things are stored will also play into how well it holds up and for how long. There's a sticky around somewhere here with A.G. Hagan's food preservation FAQs that will have a wealth of information for you.
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  #5  
Old 09/02/12, 07:34 PM
 
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White rice stores forever. Beans do get hard, but you can still use them. They just get really tough in a few years.

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  #6  
Old 09/02/12, 07:36 PM
 
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I'm dumping the beans in a 5 gallon bucket with some bay leaves thrown in, and a tight fitting lid. Rice I pour into 2 liter cleaned soda bottles. Pasta is in original packages, inside a 5 gal. bucket with lid. All are stored in the darkest corner of our pantry, which is on the north side of our house, and the coolest.

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Old 09/02/12, 07:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mekasmom View Post
White rice stores forever. Beans do get hard, but you can still use them. They just get really tough in a few years.
If you soak them overnight, then cook them in a pressure cooker, wouldn't that solve the hard bean problem?
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Old 09/02/12, 08:54 PM
 
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No. Old beans will still be grainy and slightly hard. I solve the problem by pressure canning them. They hold their shape and not not get mushy but do get soft. I actually prefer older beans for canning for just that reason.

I have pasta from 2000 that is still fine. I store in original boxes or bags inside plastic buckets with lids in my basement pantry. Temps stay cool and dark year around and we run a dehumidifer all summer so good storage conditions. I don't know how old the white rice is but some has to be 2000 or 2001 and I can't tell the difference between that and new. Most rice is transferred to gallon glass jars although some is in original packaging in plastic buckets.

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  #9  
Old 09/02/12, 09:56 PM
 
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Store enough beans for two years worth. When spring comes along plant part of your beans to replenish what you've used. If your crop is a failure, you still have a years worth of beans to eat on and hopefully have some left to try growing again.

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  #10  
Old 09/02/12, 10:26 PM
 
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As above, white rice (sealed away from insects) lasts forever.

Beans do get hard, but grinding to flour ("what's that?" "it's bean flour" "i know what it's been! I want to know what it IS!"), or pressure cooking, makes them more edible.
Bringing to the boil, then soaking for 1-2 days, also helps.
Beans toughen when cooked with salt. DON'T DO IT! Not salt, not additives (sauce, canned or packet soups - nothing). If you want to add salt, add at the end, AFTER cooking - not during or before).

If you are going to store dried legumes, beans take A LOT of cooking, therefore a lot of fuel. For some reason, people hardly ever account for the fuel they need to gather or buy and store. Lentils, small Asian beans (adzuki, mung), split peas, or pre-ground bean flour along with a lot less fuel can be a better deal.

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  #11  
Old 09/02/12, 10:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Oldcountryboy View Post
Store enough beans for two years worth. When spring comes along plant part of your beans to replenish what you've used. If your crop is a failure, you still have a years worth of beans to eat on and hopefully have some left to try growing again.
This. Plus, make your own pasta. Wheat will store for a long time, so by making your own pasta you shouldn't have to store for very long.
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  #12  
Old 09/03/12, 01:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by backwoods View Post
If you soak them overnight, then cook them in a pressure cooker, wouldn't that solve the hard bean problem?
They are edible. But they are just tough like an old rabbit or an old pethy radish.
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  #13  
Old 09/03/12, 01:35 PM
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When spring comes along plant part of your beans
That's not possible for lots of places.
The typical "dried" types of beans can't be grown here due to fungal problems, and need a cooler, drier climate to thrive.

We've tried several different varities and none produced anything before the plants died
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  #14  
Old 09/04/12, 08:08 PM
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Pressure cooked many old beans, they are just as nice & tenders as new ones. Maybe not quite as tasty, but a pressure cooker does the job, and quickly.

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  #15  
Old 09/05/12, 01:36 PM
 
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I've cooked and eaten 100 year old beans and rice that were properly stored. I did it to prove to my townie cousins it could be done, and how to do it. The food was edible and tasty. Of course their only complaint then was it couldn't possibly be nutritious. I pulled weeds and threw in the pot.

Our family gatherings are always educational.

The beans and rice were in green glass jars with steel lids in a dynamite crate cache box along with other important survival stuff. Much of it was historically significant at least to our family. Sealed in another jar were the original assay report and claim papers. The box showed no signs of repeated opening and closing. That's how we knew how old the beans were.

We pulled the cache after someone stole the antique outhouse. It was made with hand-hewn beams, hand-sawn planks, Prince Albert paper holder and was a well polished two-seater. They didn't just walk off with it!

I knew those old beans and rice were edible because my great uncles taught me how to prepare them to be hermetically sealed in jars like that for long-term storage, and how to cook them. Moisture needs to be driven out of the beans over low heat in a large roasting pan over a wood stove, stirred and turned often, without scorching. Jars and lids need to be dry heated. Hot beans into hot jars, sealed with hot lids. It is the moisture trapped in stored beans that will cause them to degrade over time and be tough when cooked.

To cook these old beans (and rice), put them in a dutch oven or iron kettle, add oil or fat, fill the pot with water and bring to a rapid boil. Refill the pot with water and bring to a boil again. Move pot to simmer, keep the lid on tight except to add more water. Beans take 2-3 hours, don't let them go dry. Burnt beans are poison! Rice is ready when it's ready.

The heavy cast iron lids of dutch ovens act somewhat like a pressure cooker when cooking old beans. It takes a lot longer to cook them when using a stainless steel or enamel soup kettle.

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  #16  
Old 09/05/12, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Backwoods
How long do Rice & Beans really last?
Do you mean before or after you eat them?
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  #17  
Old 09/05/12, 05:35 PM
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Laura, that was an interesting post!

Richard Proenneke wrote about eating old beans, and said he just had to cook them a lot longer.

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  #18  
Old 09/06/12, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Bearfootfarm View Post
That's not possible for lots of places.
The typical "dried" types of beans can't be grown here due to fungal problems, and need a cooler, drier climate to thrive.

We've tried several different varities and none produced anything before the plants died

Can't your grow butter beans and black eyed peas up in North Carolina? I grow them, as well as several other types of beans and never have a problem down in Ga. and it is very humid down there. If I hadn't had gallons of butter beans, pintos, and black eyes dried and put up, we would have gone hungry some of the time.

Didn't spray for fungus, just used varieties for the south, allowed them to dry on the vine, then shelled and allowed to air dry a couple of days, put in sealed jars with dessicant and store out of the light. They eat just like dried beans you get in the store.

I never could get any English Peas to grow hardly, one year I did get them up and got some peas, the the heat started and all perished.
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  #19  
Old 09/06/12, 10:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Barnhouse View Post
Do you mean before or after you eat them?
No problem telling how long they last after eating them...DH has a way of letting me know in "nose" uncertain terms! hee hee!
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  #20  
Old 09/06/12, 10:28 PM
 
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We have plenty of firewood stored (4 yrs worth), and live on 70 acres of woods. So fuel for cooking not a problem. I also have a Country Living grain mill for grinding. One of our neighbors grows red kidney beans and dries them on the vine and I've canned them before. I bartered with her, for some of our goat milk. Funny that's what she wanted, as they were milking their cow at the time, but preferred goat milk to make their yogurt. I don't think we could dry beans well enough here due to the humidity, for long term storage unless we oven dried them first. Thats a great idea. Thanks for everyone's input! I feel better about it.

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