When it comes to buying food in bulk for long-term storage, beans are one of the best options out there. They’re relatively inexpensive, they have a long shelf life, and they’re readily available at both brick-and-mortar stores, as well as online.
If you want to buy beans in person, Costco is the best place to go. The best place to buy bulk beans online at a low price is webstaurantstore.com. For higher quality, nuts.com is a great option. If you’re looking for something convenient, Amazon also has a large selection of just about any bean imaginable.
|3. Nuts.com||Not bad in bulk||Limited but high quality|
|4. Costco (Brick & Mortar)||Mid||Limited|
|5. Thrive Market||High||Limited but high quality|
If you’d like to know the best places to buy beans in bulk, and how to properly store them once you do have them, you’ve come to the right place. Below, you’ll find my guide to the best places to buy both dried and organic beans online based on price, quality, and convenience.
Best Places to Buy Dried Beans Online
Thanks to the internet, you now have more options than ever before as to where you buy your bulk dried beans. Of course, with more options, comes the burden of wading through them all to pick out the best one. When you can buy dried beans everywhere from Amazon to specialty websites, you’ve got to wonder which has the best cost to quality ratio?
Below you will find my picks for the best places to buy dried beans online, based on convenience, quality, and price:
1. Best Place to Buy Dried Beans at a Low Price: Webstaurant Store
Webstaurant store usually sells to restaurants that need supplies for their kitchen. However, their selection of bulk dried beans can be bought by anyone at some ridiculously low prices.
The low prices do come with a trade-off, in that they don’t quite have the selection some of the other places on this list have. Still, they’ll have the most popular types like black beans and pinto beans, so that may not matter depending on your taste.
2. Best Place to Buy Online for Convenience: Amazon
This is the best site for convenience. Even if you’ve only shopped online once in your entire life, chances are you did it on Amazon. Because so many people already have an Amazon account and are familiar with how the site works, I’m ranking it best in terms of convenience for online dried bean sales.
3. Best Place to Buy High Quality Dried Beans: Nuts.com
The website Nuts.com has a great selection of beans that includes everything from mung beans to variety packs with a mixture of different types. They boast having the largest selection of specialty foods around and carry dried beans of the highest quality.
Their user interface is easy to use, allowing you to select how many bags of beans you want and how many pounds per bag they should be. If you buy a heavier amount, you will get a discount on the cost per pound.
Nuts.com also provides you with easy-to-find nutrition facts as well as recommendations on what other types of beans you may like based on your viewing a purchase history. If you want to be certain you’re getting exactly what you want, nuts.com is the place to go.
Best Places to Buy Organic Bulk Beans in General
Organic beans are grown without using all of the pesticides and other chemicals most beans are exposed to for a greater yield. They can sometimes be more expensive, but it’s been shown that most organic foods have slightly higher nutritional value than their conventionally grown counterparts.
Below you will find my picks for the best places to buy organic bulk beans based on convenience, quality, and price.
4. Best Place to Buy Organic Beans for Convenience: Costco
If you have a Costco near you, it’s likely the most convenient spot for you to buy bulk dried beans. You can pick them up in person at the kind of reduced prices you’d expect.
The only downside here is that depending on the size of the Costco in your area, you may only be able to find the most popular types of beans. That’s fine if that’s what you want, however, if you want something more exotic you may have to go online.
5. Best Place to Buy High Quality Organic Beans: Thrive Market
Thrive Market sells some of the highest quality organic beans you can find online. Along with their quality, they have a fantastic selection of different types you can try.
The only downside is that it can become a little pricey to buy a large number of beans from Thrive Market because you can only get so many per bag.
6. Best Place to Buy Organic Beans at a Low Price: Bulkeez
Bulkeez is a site that sells all kinds of food products in bulk for low prices. When it comes to beans, their prices are almost half as much per pound than you’ll find in other places.
They have an easy-to-use site with an excellent selection of organic beans. You check out reviews, get recommendations and use “quick shop” to get everything you need with just a few clicks.
Plus, they even provide you with cooking instructions for each type of bean. That way, if you’re looking to try something new, you can buy it and learn how to prepare it all in one place.
By the way, it’s possible to “outsource” your long-term food storage to a reputable company that specializes in this type of thing. The company I currently recommend is My Patriot Supply. Here are three things you can get from them:
Buying Beans: Brick and Mortar vs Online
In my lists, I put both brick and mortar stores like Costco, as well as online stores that varied from Amazon to Thrive Market. This leads to the obvious question of which is better, being in a brick and mortar store or buying online?
Well, the answer is that it really depends on you:
- Local brick-and-mortar stores like Costco are really convenient if you want a popular type of bean like pinto beans. You can just drive over there and have a bulk bag at a low price immediately. The downside, however, is that your selection will be limited to what they carry.
- Online is better when you want more control over the product you’re getting. In some cases, you may end up spending more, and you’ll have to wait for the beans to arrive in the mail. However, you can pick from a much larger selection, and get exactly what you want at the quality level of your choosing.
What are the Best Beans for Long Term Storage?
When it comes to the best beans for long-term storage, it’s not really about the type of bean, but rather the condition they’re stored in. Dried beans of any kind are the ones that last the longest and are the most convenient for long-term storage.
While canned beans can remain edible for decades, they lose almost all of their flavor within around four years. That said, there are some experts who suggest that you really don’t want to hold on to them for longer than two.
In normal conditions, dried beans can retain a decent amount of flavor for 4 years as well. However, if you store them properly, they can actually last up to 30 years. They will lose some flavor during that time, but not to the degree canned beans would.
Should I Buy Canned or Dried Beans?
If you’re planning on buying in bulk, there’s little question that dried beans will be preferable. As I mentioned before, you can store them for the longest amount of time. That’s important because if you’re buying in bulk, you’re going to want something that can keep for a good long while.
Dried bulk beans are preferable to canned bulk beans. Here’s why:
- More flexibility on flavor: When you buy canned beans they’ve already been cooked and soaked in additive and sodium rich water. With dried beans on the other hand, you have a clean canvas you can do whatever you want with.
- More flexibility on texture: Because canned beans have already been soaked and cooked (you’re essentially reheating them) you don’t have a whole lot of wiggle room on their texture. However, if you’re using dried beans you can
- Potentially healthier: Most canned beans you find at the store are loaded with sodium to help preserve them longer.
Are Dried Beans Really Cheaper?
Dried beans are much cheaper than canned beans. While it might not make a huge difference to someone just shopping for this week’s food, the divergence in price is magnified significantly, when you buy in bulk.
At the same time, canned beans are ready to go right out of the can. Dried beans require equipment and access to water to prepare. If you don’t already have that equipment (you probably do), it is a cost you will have to factor in.
How Long Can You Store Bulk Beans?
You can store bulk beans for up to around 30 years if you do it properly. They will lose some flavor during that time, however, they should lose much in the way of nutrients.
That said, the method that you chose to use to store the beans can cut that lifespan more than half.
How Do You Store Large Amounts of Beans?
So how exactly do you get beans to last years without losing so much flavor they are barely recognizable? Well, it really has to do with where you put them and what you put them in.
Let’s start with where you should put them.
Aside from the effects of oxygen, light, heat, and humidity play a role in the degradation of beans over time. You want them in a cool, dry place where there isn’t too much light. Don’t put them in a place they are likely to overheat or gather moisture, as it will result in mold.
If you really want to make them last the longest they can, you should put them in a mylar bag alongside oxygen absorbers. The mylar will block out both excess moisture and light, as well as any gases that might come along. The oxygen absorbers will prevent small amounts of oxygen from damaging the beans over time.
This isn’t the only way to store a large number of beans, but it is the most effective aside from just freezing them. In this way, they can be stored for almost 30 years with a small impact on flavor and next to no impact on nutrients.
I wrote a detailed article on how to store bulk rice and beans over the long term, be sure to check it out.
Should You Freeze Beans Before Long Term Storage?
Freezing beans before long-term storage (even if you don’t keep them frozen) is considered an important step by some because it will kill the eggs of most pests that can get into dried beans. Sometimes when you buy dried beans, they already have weevil eggs inside them. If they aren’t killed, they could ruin the rest of your beans even if you do everything else right.
Can You Store Dried Beans in a Mason Jar?
There are many people who simply store their dried beans in airtight mason jars to prevent degradation from oxygen. While this works for short-term storage, it leaves open the question of whether or not it’s also good for long-term storage.
Dried beans can be stored in mason jars for up to around 3 years. Still, the jars themselves have to be kept in a cool environment with low lighting and minimal humidity. It’s also a good idea to microwave or freeze them first to kill any weevil or insect eggs that might be hiding in them.
How Long Will Beans Last Vacuum Sealed?
Vacuum sealing is similar to using mason jars for storing dried beans, except even more care is taken to prevent any oxygen from getting in. This can lead to your beans lasting at least 8 to 10 years if they are kept at around room temperature.
Wherever you decide to buy your beans, make sure you store them at room temperature, with as little oxygen reaching them as possible. If you want to be extra careful, you can freeze them to kill any insect eggs that might be waiting to hatch inside. Once they’re carefully stowed away, you can enjoy knowing you’ve got plenty of beans to last a good long while.
Bulk beans can be bought everywhere from your local Costco to specialty online stores like Nuts.com. If you’re looking for convenience something like Amazon or Costco should do. If you want quality, I recommend using a site like Thrive Market or Nuts.com. Finally, if you want them at the lowest price possible, I recommend Webstaurant or Bulkeez.
I hope this article has been helpful!
For more, check out How to Store Cocoa Powder Long Term | The Best Way.
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