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Are dried beans harder to cook as they get older ?

 
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I took a 1 lb plastic sealed of pinto beans that I stashed away 15 or 20 years ago in a plastic bucket at basement temperatures and yesterday  it took 6 long hours of near boiling temps
for them to become tender.     I believe I recall reading somewhere that dried red beans that aged became harder to cook but I did not believe it.   Has anyone else experienced this and
if it is true,   what makes the beans harder to cook ?   BTW,  I soaked the beans overnight before cooking.

 
pollinator
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Yes, I have experienced this. I don't really know why this happens, but I find pinto beans to be particularly hard.
 
steward
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I've also experienced this. I've never tried beans that I've had on the shelf for multiple years as they get consumed before getting that old. My wife and I have found ourselves using year old beans and not considering that they will take longer, and start cooking supper in the afternoon only to have our usual supper time come and go and eat late as we wait for the beans to lose their crunchiness and soften up.
 
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I don't know why, but definitely have experienced it.
But never with 15+ year old beans, that may be a record!!!
I occasionally have beans from a year or two ago, or may buy them from a place with little turnover. Even soaked, they can take a long time.
This article has some suggestions (like adding baking soda) that might be interesting. https://www.thespruceeats.com/how-long-are-dried-beans-good-for-1388301

I was also taught to not add salt until right before serving, as that can also keep skins hard and make the whole process take even longer. Not sure whether that is true or just old wives' business.
 
Scott Perkins
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Well I have about ten gallons of this variety of dried beans: red beans,  field peas,  lentils,  green peas,  red beans,  black beans, pinto beans and
black eyed peas that are at the 15 plus year age.   My next batch is going to be cooked in a pressure cooker to see how much that speeds up the process.

These plastic buckets are sealed so the beans cannot "dry out" any more than their original packaging condition.  

AND they are still in their sealed plastic store bought bags.    So I dont know what kinds of changes could be taking place in the beans.

 
Tereza Okava
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I didn`t find any real reason, other than after 2 years they start to get brittle and have texture changes. But I`m not a food scientist!
Pressure should help, even fresh(er) beans I can`t really imagine making without the pressure cooker.

From your list, I think the red beans and peas might be the worst in terms of time taken to cook. Let us know how you do!
 
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Scott Perkins wrote:Well I have about ten gallons of this variety of dried beans: red beans,  field peas,  lentils,  green peas,  red beans,  black beans, pinto beans and
black eyed peas that are at the 15 plus year age.   My next batch is going to be cooked in a pressure cooker to see how much that speeds up the process.



Very much recommend the pressure cooker technique with old beans.  

Split peas, in particular, will stay "gritty" if cooked for normal short times after long storage.

Also, don't be afraid to pressure cook for longer times than you think you should have to.  It doesn't hurt anything and it can make the difference between "just another bowl of beans" and creamy delicious goodness.
 
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