Do fermented black beans go bad?

We got a small jar of fermented black beans a couple years ago as a gift. They have been hanging out in our cupboard until today when we figured we would use them. I opened the jar to see that the factory seal (like what you get on a jar of peanut butter) had a puncture in it. So essentially these little guys have been breathing fresh, room temp air for at least 2 or 3 years now. Are we in for a world of pain using them or are they just extra flavorful now? PS, sorry for clicking urgent but this will impact tonight's dinner and this community is my own personal Obi Wan. Help me, you're my only hope.

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4 Comments

boulangere November 26, 2019
The notion of "better living through chemistry" means many things to many people. In this case, you can see it as reinforcing your own intuition that NO is the answer, and the correct one. The possibility that your beans have become a hotbed of bacterial growth is enormous. As we speak, I am watching the series Chernobyl on HBO. You might think your lucky stars that your your jar did not similarly explode, though I doubt it'd have caught fire. Make a Note To Self to consume gifts sooner rather than later, and go with Plan B for your kind community.
 
Stephanie B. November 26, 2019
Ooof, yeah, Chernobyl. That was quite a miniseries.
 
vansomeone November 26, 2019
To follow up on this and kind of answer my own question, another website suggests 6 months after being unsealed. So, looking like a No here.
 
Jacob P. November 26, 2019
Hi Vansomeone! Because the environment of your kitchen may not be as controlled as the place where your fermented black beans were produced I would be hesitant to use them. Additionally, oxygen exposure may have allowed other unsavory microorganisms to grow (most of the friendly bacteria that aid in fermentation are anaerobic). I'd skip these in the recipe tonight!
 
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