Beans / Seasoning

Q:     Are any of your products genetically modified or contain GMO ingredients?

A:     All of our dry beans themselves are completely non-GMO. A few of our seasoning packet flavors have trace amounts of soy oils or a starch made from corn which could potentially come from GMO crops. The total amount in the seasonings would be very, very small. If you need more information, please feel free to contact Hurst customer service and we will do our best to answer any questions you may have. 

Q: Where are your beans grown?


A: We buy primarily from United States growers but do get some varieties occasionally from our Canadian neighbors.

Q:     Can I freeze uncooked beans?
A:     It is not recommended to store dried beans in the freezer. Over time, the beans will lose adequate moisture and will be unfit for cooking. Dried beans should be stored in a cool, dry area. Some people place the beans in an airtight plastic container or even a mason jar. This reduces the chance of infestation as well.

Q:     can i make the original recipe w/out the ham hocks and ham flavoring, as a vegetarian soup instead?
A:     Currently, NONE of our seasonings contain animal products. Therefor, you can still use our entire line of products in vegetarian recipes with delicious results.

Q:     Do the beans go bad? What is the shelf life?
A:     Dry beans go bad if they get wet (they'll grow into seeds) or become infested (they are produce and bugs do sometimes like them).

When beans age, they lose moisture.  The more moisture they lose, the harder they are to cook to tender.  Our rule of thumb is that if you think the bag is over 2 years old - you might make sure the beans will cook to tender before you add the other ingredients.

Q:     Do you carry "Hallmark Beans"
A:     This variety used to be called marrowfat beans. They were raised commercially and well distributed. We haven't heard any speak or deal in them for years and assume they may be grown as an heirloom variety only and would be extremely hard to find because they aren't grown commercially any longer. We thank you for your interest in this variety and apologize that it isn't available for purchase.

Q:     Do you sell in bulk quantities?
A:     Please send an e-mail to with the varieties you are looking for. Sometimes we do sell bulk beans directly to consumers, prices do vary upon product.

Q:     I lost the spice packet for the 15 bean soup. What spices should I use to flavor the soup?
A:     If the seasoning packet was not included inside the bag, please send an e-mail with your street address to Please hold on to your package and we will send a return envelope with your sample so we may record the date/code number for training purposes.

In the mean time, for extra flavor, our resident chef suggests using bouillon cubes (whatever meat you prefer). You can also use an equal amount of chicken or beef stock instead of water. A great way to add flavor is to add you favorite vegetable and/or herb and just simply experiment. The options are endless! Let us know how it turns out!

Q:     Do your seasoning packets contain any animal by-products?
A:     We have recently changed the ingredients in our seasonings to vegetable based products. Currently, NONE of our seasonings contain animal products!

Q:     What are the artificial flavorings in the ham packet; are these chemicicals that might be harmful?
A:     The ingredients in the seasoning are listed on the packaging. Most ingredients are vegetable based, or anti-caking products. We at N.K. Hurst Co. strive to provide complete and nutritious meals to our consumers. We do not add harmful chemicals to our products. Please contact us directly at if you have additional questions or concernes.

Q:     What is the shelf life of the dried beans?
A:     We recommend that you only keep the beans for 18-24 months. If they are older than that, they are difficult to re-hydrate. There is a date code on the back of our HamBeens® products. These are the beans that have the seasoning packets inside. On the back of the bag, you will find a black number hand stamped onto the film. The number will read something like 128081. In this case, the product was packed on the 128th day of the year 2008. The last number 1 is the N.K. Hurst production line the product was packed on. Hopefully this will help you in determining the age of the beans you have. For your convenience, we recently added a best by date on the package as well.

Q:     Why must the seasoning packet be added during the last few minutes of cooking? If I do it that way, I sometimes forget to add it. Couldn't I just add it to the soup along with the rest of the ingredients in the beginning?
A:     We usually recommend adding the seasoning packet towards the end of cooking to get the most flavor in your final dish. If you would like to add earlier that is not a problem, but the seasoning flavor may not be as strong after cooking for several hours.