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How Long Does Canned Food Really Last?

Great question, right? Especially for those of you that are full-time RVers. Most likely, you store canned goods for a long time before you use them.

Here’s some additional information regarding food storage. I hope this can help you out, whether you RV full-time or just part-time:

Most canned food will last for two years and longer. Even the two-year figure is arbitrary.  If the can’s seal is not broken it can last longer.

How much longer? There was a report of a canned meat opened after 118 years and it was fine (canned meats can last the longest). The age of the can is not the big question–after all how long are you going to keep cans in your RV? Five years, ten years? Doubtful. The cans will outlast your RV.

  • Low acid foods (soups without tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, pumpkin, peas) will last longer than highly acidic food (tomatoes, fruit, and foods with a lot of vinegar in them).
  • Before using, inspect can for dents (a can with a large dent can have a broken seal even if you can’t see it), bulging (a bad sign–throw these out immediately), and leaking (also throw out).
  • Never eat canned food that has a strange odor, color, or flavor, or that spurts when it is opened. Throw it away.
  • The Food Reference website states:  Canned food retains its safety and nutritional value well beyond two years, but it may have some variation in quality, such as a change of color and texture. Canning is a high-heat process that renders the food commercially sterile. Food safety is not an issue in products kept on the shelf or in the pantry for long periods of time. In fact, canned food has an almost indefinite shelf life at moderate temperatures (75° F and below). Canned food as old as 100 years has been found in sunken ships and it is still microbiologically safe!

In canned foods, preservatives are used to maintain quality. The canning process keeps it safe. If a product is correctly processed, it should remain safe until opened or the seal is broken. The U.S. Army has found that canned meats, vegetables and jam were in “excellent states of preservation” after 46 years.

Here’s a great link to check out for more information on how long other foods can last.

Source: Hoosier RV Daddy

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