Best Beans For Long Term Storage – What’s Your Opinion?

An important part of a long term food storage diversification plan. Beans and legumes. The LDS recommends 60 pounds as part of an overall 1-year food storage inventory per adult. But the question is, what are the best beans for long term storage? Does it matter?

Beans For Long Term Storage

The legume family, of which all beans, peas, lentils, and peanuts are a part — is one of the largest in the plant kingdom.

I’ll tell you what I do, and what I recommend. I have my own favorite beans (and recipes). You likely do to. So, just get those for your long term storage. That’s mostly what we did. Most of our beans are those which we enjoy. Although we do have others too, for the sake of variety.

Almost all beans generally have very similar calories, protein, nutrition. So it’s not something to be too concerned about. Also, they’re all dry. They will all store well long term.

I personally like the following beans / legumes. Are they the best? Well, it’s all really a personal choice.

The following happen to be available in 10 pound bags (or other sizes), they’re organic, and product of the USA (((gasp!))).

(view on amzn)

I’m curious to hear what other people like. Your best beans for long term storage…

Here’s a partial list of some common legumes:

GREAT NORTHERN BEANS

620 calories per cup (raw); 40g protein

A large white bean about twice the size of navy beans. They are typically bean flavored and are frequently favored for soups, salads, casseroles, and baked beans (yum!). They are one of the more commonly eaten in the U.S.

Also, milled into meal, these mild flavored beans can be included in many baked goods as a protein booster or used to thicken soups and stews.

BLACK-EYED PEAS

573 calories per cup (raw); 40g protein

Also known as “cowpeas” or “field peas”. There are many varieties of these peas, especially eaten across the Southern United States, with black-eyed peas being the most commonly known in the U.S.

Black-eyed peas are small, oval shaped with an overall creamy color. And, of course, their distinctive black-eye. They cook very quickly and combine very tastily with either rice or cornbread. They’re also reputed to produce less flatulence than many other beans.

NAVY BEANS

700 calories per cup (raw); 46g protein

Smaller than Great Northern beans, these petite sized beans are also sometimes knows as pea beans. They are the main ingredient of Navy and Senate Bean Soups. They’re favored for many baked bean dishes, and are most often chosen for use in commercial pork and beans (yum!).

They retain their shape well when cooked. Ground into meal they can be added to many soups and stews without overpowering them.

PINTO BEANS

670 calories per cup (raw); 41g protein

Anyone who has eaten Tex-Mex food has likely had the pinto bean. It is probably the most widely consumed legume in the U.S., particularly in the Southwestern portion of the country.

Stereotypically bean shaped, it has a dappled pattern of tans and browns on its shell. Pintos have a flavor that blends well with many foods. When milled into a meal, pinto beans will cook in mere minutes, making a near instant form of refried beans (again, yum!).

CHICKPEAS – GARBANZO

729 calories per cup (raw); 39g protein

Also known as the “garbanzo bean” or “cecci pea” (or bean). They tend to be a creamy or tan color, rather lumpy roundish, and larger than dried garden peas. Many have eaten the nutty flavored chick-pea, even if they’ve never seen a whole one.

They are the prime ingredient in hummus and are one of the oldest cultivated legume species known, going back as far as 5400 B.C. in the Near East.

Chickpeas tend to remain firmer when cooked than other legumes. They can add a pleasant texture to many foods.

LIMA BEANS

600 calories per cup (raw); 38g protein

In the Southern U.S., they are also commonly called “butter beans”. Limas are one of the most common legumes, found in this country in all manner of preservation from the young small beans to the large fully mature type.

Their flavor is pleasant, but a little bland. Their shape is rather flat and broad with colors ranging from pale green to speckled cream and purple. They combine very well with rice.

MUNG BEANS

718 calories per cup (raw); 49g protein

Best known here in the States in their sprouted form, they are quite common in Indian and other Asian cuisines cuisines and are a close relative of the field peas (cowpeas).

Their shape is generally round, fairly small with color ranging from a medium green to so dark as to be nearly black. They cook quickly and presoaking is not generally needed.

PEANUTS (Groundnuts)

828 calories per cup (raw); 38g protein

The peanut is not actually a nut at all, but a legume. Peanuts have a high protein percentage and even more fat. Whatever their classification, peanuts are certainly not unfamiliar to U.S. eaters.

They are one of the two legume species commonly grown for oilseed in this country, and are also used for peanut butter, and boiled or roasted peanuts. Peanut butter (yum yum!), (without excessive added sweeteners) can add body and flavor to sauces, gravies, soups, and stews.

PEAS, GREEN OR YELLOW

117 calories per cup (raw); 8g protein

More often found as split peas, though whole peas can sometimes be had. The yellow variety has become somewhat uncommon but has a milder flavor than the green types which well lends them to blending inconspicuously into other foods.

Probably best known in split pea soup, particularly with a smoky chunk of ham added. Whole peas need soaking, but split peas can be cooked as is. Split peas and pea meal makes an excellent thickener for soups and stews. Because splitting damages the pea, this more processed form does not keep for as long as whole peas unless given special packaging.

SOYBEANS

830 calories per cup (raw); 68g protein

The soybean is by far the legume with the highest protein content in large scale commercial production. It’s amino acid profile is the most nearly complete for human nutrition. Alongside the peanut, it is the other common legume oilseed.

The beans themselves are small, round, and with a multitude of different shades – though tan seems to be the most common.

Because of their high oil content, they are more sensitive to oxygen exposure than other legumes. Precautions should be taken accordingly if they are to be kept for more than a year in storage.

Although the U.S. grows a large percentage of the global supply, we consume virtually none of them directly. Most go into cattle feed, are used by industry, or exported. What does get eaten directly has usually been intensively processed.

Soybean products range from soymilk to tofu, to tempeh, to textured vegetable protein (TVP) and hundreds of other forms. They don’t lend themselves well to merely being boiled until done, then eaten the way other beans and peas do.

KIDNEY BEANS

612 calories per cup (raw); 43g protein

(not recommended due to potential toxicity if not processed correctly)

Like the rest of the family, kidney beans can be found in wide variety. They may be white, mottled or a light or dark red color with their distinctive kidney shape. Probably best known here in the U.S. for their use in chili and bean salads, they figure prominently in Mexican, Brazilian and Chinese cuisine.

Need to mention that raw, undercooked, and improperly cooked red kidney beans are toxic. After looking this up to make sure before I posted, seems that white kidney beans (cannellini) and some broad beans like favas are also.

FDA recommendation is to boil them for at least 30 minutes. Preparing fresh red kidney beans in a slow cooker that does not boil them hard can increase the toxicity by up to five times.

~ reported by an MSB reader

Some of this descriptive information is credited to Alan T. Hagan

[ Read: Rice and Beans – A Survival Combination ]

[ Read: Storing Beans Long Term ]

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24 Comments

  1. I store almost everything you have here. I didn’t know this about kidney beans though I have used them in chili cooked in a crock pot many times with no bad effect but will boil them first now.. main ones I store are pinto’s. Probably 20-1 over everything else

  2. Along with the legumes/beans you’ve listed I also store myacoba and black beans, and lentils

  3. We use all of the mentioned above beans/peas (plus lentils) and it’s a good idea to have a variety in your stores. If you are down to relying on just rice and beans to survive, eating the same thing day in day out is not good for morale. Being able to “mix it up” a bit will go a long way in dealing with the psychological aspect of SHTF which is one of the biggest components of survival.

    We keep several different types of rice and spices and make up “SHTF Test Dinners” once a month to see what goes together the best and what tastes horrible. This will pay off by not wasting supplies when you need them the most.

  4. Interesting how high the mung beans are,,, aside from using them for sprouting never really thought about using them in soups or the like, i wonder if the nutrient levels are the same sprouted as they are as a whole bean?

  5. I have been putting back pintos because i get them for free from my neighbor. Love lentils, and great northern beans and need to start putting them away as i can. too many other things more important to buy right now though.

  6. I keep a variety of beans and legumes in my pantry these days though a majority of the time I cook up either Navy or Black beans. I like making Senate Bean Soup recipe with very lean smoked bacon ( I got a bunch from a guy that raised his own pig last Summer). For the black beans, I like using a spicier sausage like Andoulie or Chorizo with a big green chili like Anaheim chopped up and mixed in. (I do not add the seeds though- too spicy for me these days) I use the recipes from the Joy of Cooking. I like eating beans during the cold dark days of winter when the produce may or may not be good or available to make a salad within the grocery stores. Beans provide a lot of fiber in addition to the protein. They are also a great way to get a lot of vegetables in your diet as well. (I generally add chopped onion and chopped celery to most batches of beans) I would love to hear from NRP as to how he cooks those unusual beans he keeps talking about. I forget the name of the varietal.

    1. Calirefugee,
      Anasazi beans were what Ol NRP loves to cook up, iirc. I’m sure he’s got a recipe for those, pintos and some of those “New Mexican fence jumper” beans. Wonder where he’s been?

      1. Calirefugee & Minerjim:
        Beans, what a wonderful food group. Sort of like Bacon, tis a food group of it’s own, correct?
        To answer Calirefugee, I enjoy quite a variety of Beans, I would have to say a couple of my favorite would be Anasazi and Mortgage Lifter, maybe a good pot of Zuni Gold. These I get semi-local from a place called Adobe Milling.
        That said, I do keep quite a few different 50 pound bags stored up in sealed buckets with a stick of Spearmint Gum to keep the bugs out. Yes even a few pails of Pinto Beans for Barter.
        As far a a favorite “Recipe”, honestly I hardly spice up the Beans, my thinking that a good ole Pot-O-Beans should be mainly Beans, seriously if one needs to add 3 hand-fulls of stuff to make a bucket of Beans taste good, maybe one should try a different Bean???? For the flavor of a good Bean is like a Good Steak, why take a GREAT Porterhouse Steak and smother it in 2 pounds of A-One Sauce? Heck, just drink the A-1 and save the time Grilling the Steak.
        How do I cook em you ask?.

        Simple;
        1. Grab an old Crock Pot, one of those old orange ones that has “Off-Warm-High” settings
        2. Measure out a Cup of Anasazi Beans, rinse them to get the dust off, and dump em in the Crock Pot
        3. Add 2.5 cups of Filtered Water (I LOVE the Berkey Filter), stir it a little just to separate the Beans
        4. Set on High till it starts to Boil, than turn down to Warm.
        5. Cook at least 8 hours, maybe 10 if I’m busy doing something. 4-5 hours for the Mortgage Lifters or softer beans. Do stir them a couple of times during the day, Just Cause.
        6. I may, MAY add a touch of Mineral Salt when I eat them just cause.

        If I may suggest, have that BBQed Porterhouse and a fresh ear of corn with the Beans….
        Now we’re talking

        Other than that, Beans are Beans, Again, if one needs to Spice the heck out of the Beans they are eating, than try a different Bean…

  7. Instant refried beans, hands down. Tasty, quick to reconstitute, and can be used to up the protein in many other dishes. Though I do have many varieties in LTS, JIC.

  8. I store very many lentils in order to gain variety plus they sprout easily and well. Normally I can have a batch of lentil sprouts in 4 days. On the last day I put them in a north facing but bright window sill in a clear sprouting jar to form small leaves.
    You will be left with a salad mix with beans included. A good meal.
    Lentils store well.
    A forum on sprouting could be good. I am including sprouting into my food storage plan.

    1. Woodtamer
      More and more sprouting and micro greens are looking to be an important means of getting greens into the diet, faster, easier to assure a harvest and decent nutrition

      1. me, i’m going to sprout mine in the garden. i’m not going to eat my seeds.
        if you need greens then plant some kale, turnips, collards or turnips. they can be canned.
        but don’t eat your seeds.

        1. Na, i buy seed specifically for sprouting, still buy dedicated seed for the garden, sprouts are good in sandwiches, salads and stir fries

  9. I also store a variety, not the full spectrum but about five different kinds; kidney, black, northern’s, navy, and green and yellow peas. A couple of notes for those that maybe don’t digest them well or/and have gas problems. I read a few years back when I was just starting my preparations that if start out with a 3-to-1 ratio—rice to beans—it greatly reduces and even eliminates digestion/gas problems. I’ve found this to be very true. Also, sprouting your beans for three to four days greatly reduces any flatulence issues. I do this as a common practice now and if I had to guess I would say sprouting reduces the gas thing by at least fifty percent, if not more. I am one of those that are really sensitive to beans being that they were never really a large part of my diet in the yesteryear, so those two pieces have really helped me.

  10. We have replaced kidney beans with red beans. Also store black beans, pintos, lentils, chick peas, and all white beans. However, there will never be a lima bean on my plate. I’d rather starve. Blech! Have also been growing some old heirlooms; “Old Mother Stollard” (a pole bean and very prolific, just let it dry on the vines); and our favorite “Borlotto”, a speckled (bush) bean. So good! Both great in soups and stews. And there is nothing like these fresh shelled beans simmered and then topped with an herby olive oil. Oh so good!

  11. Ha! You guys sound like my spouse about the Lima beans! We have most everything mentioned as eachhas its own place in our menu. I would anticipate eating even more bean and rice combos when things get really tight.

    1. Butter beans? I love ’em…..my wife? Not so much…says I blow the covers off the bed after I eat ’em………

      Beans, beans…a wonderful fruit…the more you eat ’em…the more you poot…the more you poot…the better you feel…let’s eat beans at every meal……..

      Life is good on the mountain…Good night folks…….

  12. My favorite is the Bolita Bean. It looks similar to a Pinto Bean, but is richer tasting and easier on the stomach. It is the great granddad of the Pinto bean. They are popular in Northern NM and southern Colorado. We get ours at Adobe Mills west of Cortez, CO. We do have a lot of pinto beans, which Old man likes best. In fact we have enough to pave the driveway, and they are old enough to work well.
    I made a bean soup last week from navy beans and they must have been quite old. We did soak them overnight and then cooked them for 2 days and they were still crunchy. Next time I will pressure cook them.

    1. I love Bolita beans! They make an excellent hummus, cassoulet, or minestrone. Very versatile bean, and you just can’t beat the creamy mouth feel. There are several commercial Bolita bean growers just south of me. Our local grocery stocks beans from Adobe Mills and lots of other locally sourced foods.

      I store many varieties of dry beans: Bolita, Anasazi, pinto, black, black eyed peas, lentils, split peas, Navy, Great Northern, and more. They are all a regular part of my diet. I grow some in my garden every year, and am very happy that there are so many other larger growers nearby.

  13. We store the pintos, 15 bean mix, split green peas, some store cans of black and red beans.

    Also home-canned a 50-pound bag of peanuts for boiled peanuts. Made 112 qt jars. Quite yummmmmy! Every Tuesday is boiled peanut day.

  14. Our kids were raised on a lot of split pea soup & corn bread because our budget didn’t allow for a lot of meat. We still like that & also a tomato lentil soup. I found the recipe when I went back to college in my 40’s & money was tight then too. One of the reasons we like both of those is they cook quicker than other legumes. DH & I weren’t raised on highly spiced foods so were prefer plain pork & beans over the highly spiced chilis. I have stocked a number of kinds of beans & am trying to kind recipes we like for each.

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