Storing Dried Beans UncategorizedBean Bulletin, Tips Dried beans have a long storage life, which means you can always have them on hand. It’s best to use beans within a year of purchase, but that’s only because the longer they sit on the shelf, the longer they take to cook. They are still safe to use, and if you store beans properly, they should be good for several years in your pantry. To keep dried beans as fresh as possible, store them in food-safe storage containers with tight-fitting lids rather than in the plastic bag you purchased them in. Store in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. If beans have been sitting on the shelf for more than a year, adding ¼ teaspoon of baking soda to each pound of beans while you’re cooking them can help make them softer.