The Best Way To Freeze Leftover Canned Beans

Canned beans are a pantry powerhouse for so many reasons. This kitchen staple is not only nutritious, tasty, and versatile, but also incredibly convenient. There is nothing simpler than opening a can of already-soaked beans whenever you need them, and you can stock up without guilt knowing that their shelf-stable nature makes them last a long while. Once open, however, these beans are at risk of spoiling more quickly. That is why, if you anticipate having leftover beans when using a can, we highly recommend freezing them.

Canned beans only last about three or four days in the refrigerator after opening. Any longer, and they will begin to turn — growing harmful pathogens like bacteria and mold and stinking up your fridge. Freezing your beans, on the other hand, will safely preserve them for quite a bit longer. To do so properly, simply transfer the unused beans into an airtight container, cover the beans in a layer of fresh water, and then place them in the freezer. This method will keep beans fresh for anywhere from three to six months, depending on the type.

How to use leftover beans creatively

When it comes time to use your frozen beans, be sure to thaw them carefully to best preserve their texture. Avoid rushing the thaw by heating them in the microwave or with direct heat; rather, allow them to come up to a warmer temperature by leaving them in the fridge or on the counter until the water is melted. You can then strain the water from the beans and reheat them as you would any other canned beans.

Leftover canned beans, when frozen correctly, deliver the same delicious taste and texture as freshly opened beans. Feel free to drop them into a soup to make it richer and heartier, like in this quick pasta e fagioli, or add them to fill up a tasty batch of vegetarian tacos. If classic uses for beans don't suit your fancy, try a less traditional application, like making black bean brownies or even including beans in your next smoothie.