When it comes to hosting a family get-together or cookouts with friends, there are a few iconic dishes that are expected when they go to load up their plates. One of those dishes is baked beans, of course.
So your event is going smoothly, but it’s warm out, and you’re starting to wonder… can the beans sit out for long? If you are wondering how long can baked beans sit out at room temperature, keep reading and find out all the important answers to your baked bean questions!
How Long Can You Leave Cooked Baked Beans Outside?
It can be tricky to decide the period in which food left outside at room temperature can turn bad. According to the guidelines issued by the United States Department of Agriculture, cooked beans left outside at room temperature can stay good for a period of 2 hours maximum.
If it stays out in the open for longer than that, there is the chance that they can go bad. The USDA says beans go into the ‘Danger Zone,’ which begins at 40 degrees Fahrenheit and ends at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Harmful bacteria can grow and cause sickness and infections in this zone.
However, you can store homemade baked beans in the fridge for up to 3 or 4 days, and they will still be good for consumption. So don’t worry if you end up cooking too much of your favorite beans with molasses or its substitutes.
How Long Can Canned Beans Last?
If you have canned baked beans, they generally come with a shelf life written on the back. It is wise to stick to the date or month given on the can by the manufacturer. An unopened can of baked beans can have a shelf life of 1-3 years, so don’t stress if you’ve loaded up on your favorite baked bean brand in your pantry.
If the can of beans stays intact and you store it properly, the baked beans can stay good for way more than the given date. All that might happen if you extend the shelf life is that the quality or taste of the beans may drop over time.
Just remember, when you finally open the can of baked beans and have some leftovers, you can keep them in the fridge for 3-4 days. In case you think you might not be able to finish them all within this period, you can consider freezing them too.
Some brands may recommend a shorter time to consume all the baked beans in their can, but the period of 3-5 days is a safe bet. The USDA also has the same guidelines when it comes to the ideal time to finish leftovers.
Also, remember that the expiry date is merely best-by date. It has more to do with the quality of the food and not the safety. So, if you consume canned baked beans after the expiry date, they might have the same quality, and they might still be safe for consumption you just need to ensure they haven’t gone bad.
How Can You Tell If Baked Beans Have Gone Bad?
Whether the baked beans are well within the time frame to consume them, you must check them first to ensure they have not gone bad. There is a simple two-step process that you can use to check the quality of baked beans. Follow these instructions:
1. Inspect The Baked Beans Can
In case the jar of baked beans is still closed, you can check for the following signs:
- Visible rust
- Dents or bulging
If you see any or all of these signs listed above, it might be a sign that either something wrong happened during the manufacturing process, or the beans have gone bad over time. No matter what the case is, you should throw out the baked beans and head to the store for a new can.
2. Inspect The Baked Beans
After you inspect the can and it looks okay, you can inspect the baked beans themselves. Keep an eye on the following:
- Bacterial Activity – When you open a can of beans, the first thing you must look for is signs of bacterial activity. If you see mold or anything weird on the surface, the beans have gone bad. Mold shows up after storing an open can or home-cooked beans for a few days.
- Odd Smell – Another sign that the baked beans have rotted is a weird smell. A pungent or gross smell would imply that the beans are no good for consumption.
- Odd Taste – If the baked beans look and smell fine, you can taste them to know if they are good. In case you get a sour taste, unlike the usual taste of baked beans, they have gone bad.
How Do You Store Leftover Baked Beans?
Storing canned foods like baked beans is easy since they have a long shelf life. Things become tricky when it comes to opened cans or home-cooked baked beans. Here are some simple precautions you can keep in mind to preserve the beans for much longer:
If you use preserved food, you must know that you should not keep these goods in direct sunlight. Make sure you find a place to store canned baked beans where the sun doesn’t reach the cans as it can burst them and also cause the sauces inside to release water.
Keep Leftovers In The Fridge
You must not store half-eaten home-cooked or canned beans at room temperature for too long. It is best to keep them in the refrigerator if you want to preserve them. Transfer the baked beans to an air-tight container and then store them in the fridge for 2-3 days.
If you have a delicious baked beans family recipe, don’t forget to save it on Morsel and share it with all the family and friends in your life. With Morsel you can rest easy knowing that your baked bean recipe is safe for generations to come.
So there you have it, knowing how can long baked beans sit out at room temperature is important going into your next family cookout. Remember, don’t keep those baked beans outside at room temperature for too long, and store them in the fridge the moment your family is done serving themselves. This will keep everyone safe and healthy.
Ian Hoyt is a co-founder of Morsel – a family recipe cookbook software. When he isn’t working on building the best recipe app for your family Ian can be found hiking in the mountains of North Carolina, flying airplanes, or of course in the kitchen perfecting his beloved scone recipe.