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I'm trying to figure out which dried pulses store the best, as some are reputed to reach a state where they never fully soften.

In an old answer by Joe, the US Dry Bean Council says:

Dry beans keep up to a year in an airtight container in a cool, dry environment, away from direct sunlight. During storage, beans may either absorb or lose moisture, which will affect the soaking and cooking time. If stored longer than 12 months, or exposed to unfavorable storage conditions, beans may never soften sufficiently, no matter how long they’re soaked or cooked. On the other hand, some beans can cook up tender after years of storage. [all emphasis mine]

Which beans/pulses (assuming this varies by species/variety) are worse at displaying this characteristic? How can I know if it's worth cooking a Very Old (10 Years) Chili Bean Mixture Containing Red Kidney Beans? is relevant, but asks something quite different.

I'm fairly new to cooking with dried beans, and have several bags on the go (black-eyed bean, black, red kidney bean, urad dal/black gram, and chickpea) as well as the common red lentil which I'm more used to. I know from experience that red lentils will always soften with enough cooking, but I may want to choose which order to use the others.

Pressure cooking isn't an option for me, but anyway this question isn't about my options, it's which beans will keep best?


NB: common names are as sold in an Indian supermarket in the UK; I've linked to the appropriate Wikipedia articles to give other names.

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    I don't think they're referring to specific varieties that store longer, but that variances in initial harvesting and storage can make a difference in how long you can keep beans. – FuzzyChef Jan 16 at 18:50
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    Pre-soaking old beans can help a lot. It takes much longer for water to penetrate through dried beans than it does for heat to do so. I've cooked pre-soaked mystery beans from dark back corners of my cupboard and never really had any issues. – Pointy Jan 16 at 20:19
  • @FuzzyChef if you can find anything to back that up (I couldn't) then it would be worth an answer. – Chris H Jan 16 at 23:10
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    The bigger ones are usually more problematic. I once boiled dried Fava beans for two days. They never softened. – Wayfaring Stranger Jan 16 at 23:20
  • Chris: I know. I'm feeling lazy, though. – FuzzyChef Jan 17 at 1:25

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