Can You Store Canned Beans In The Freezer?

canned beans and other cans
canned beans and other cans - Catlane/Getty Images

Canned beans are a pantry staple thanks to their convenience, nutrition, and versatility. Just consider the many delicious ways canned beans can be used in recipes, from soups and salads to veggie burgers and breakfast dishes. Like other canned foods, storage of beans is pretty easy: Simply find an area of your kitchen that's protected from heat and moisture and your beans could potentially keep for up to five years. Despite this storage simplicity, there's one place that must be avoided when seeking the perfect storage area for canned items, and that's your freezer.

Placing unopened beans in the freezer can easily compromise the stability of the can. That's because the contents of the can will naturally get bigger as they freeze, which then puts pressure on the exterior of the can. This pressure causes the can to swell and potentially rupture, which means that air will be able to get inside. A damaged or compromised canned item has an elevated risk of mold growth due to air exposure, which is why freezing can be such a serious issue.

Read more: 13 Canned Foods You Should Avoid At The Grocery Store

What To Do If Your Canned Beans Freeze

open can of chickpeas
open can of chickpeas - Handmadepictures/Getty Images

You might be able to rescue canned beans that have accidentally frozen, but you must first do a little investigative digging. Canned foods often swell when frozen, but swelling can also signal bacterial growth. Accordingly, it might be best to pitch a swollen can, as it can be difficult to determine the exact cause of the swelling.

In the event a can of beans is frozen but not swollen, visually inspect the exterior. Cracks, rust, and other defects mean that the can is no good. If no visual defects are present, open the can and check out the beans inside. Pay attention to the smell, as sour odors and other off-putting aromas usually indicate spoilage. Bacteria also generate gas as they feast, so any bubbles inside the can are suspect, as they often denote bacterial growth. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent canned goods from freezing when exposed to cold temperatures, like when camping. For instance, you can wrap cans in newspapers or bedding to insulate them against the cold.

Tips On Freezing And Thawing Leftover Beans

woman using microwave
woman using microwave - Leopatrizi/Getty Images

While you should avoid putting unopened cans of beans in the freezer due to possible food safety risks, it's perfectly fine to store leftover beans from opened cans. However, you must take certain steps to maintain quality and prevent foodborne illness from potentially becoming an issue. To begin, find a suitable storage medium. Reusable glass or plastic containers are fine, provided they have a tightly sealed lid. Otherwise, a freezer-safe bag should suffice.

It's also a good idea to give the beans a rinse prior to freezing, but you'll also need to fill the container or bag they're stored in with fresh water. Doing so allows beans to retain their moist texture and helps you avoid freezer burn (remember that a lack of moisture is a contributor to freezer burn). When you're ready to cook the beans, stick with a trusted thawing method. If you're in a hurry, you can use the microwave, but thawing in the refrigerator or in cold water is also acceptable. If stored correctly, frozen beans can last as long as six months, which gives you plenty of time to incorporate any leftovers into your recipes.

Read the original article on Daily Meal