Are My Canned Foods Still Safe?
Commercially canned foods should be stored in a cool, dry place for best retention of nutrients and quality. Avoid storing next to kitchen ranges, furnaces, radiators, and steam pipes. Also protect against freezing temperatures.
What if they freeze? Is the food safe? Yes, usually. Food expands during freezing. Check the seams of the can after thawing for signs of leakage. Also check the ends to make sure they are flat again. Some breakdown in texture can occur during freezing. The food may be more mushy. If the food is to be mixed with several other foods and cooked, the texture will probably not be an issue.
Recommended storage for canned foods is usually a year. If canned properly, the food is safe indefinitely. However, nutritional value and quality may be reduced. Poor storage conditions can also reduce the quality.
Once a can is opened, the food becomes perishable. Refrigerate or freeze immediately any unused food. It is best to store food in glass or plastic containers. Acid foods especially can pick up the metal taste from a can easily.
Home canned foods should be stored in cool dry places as well. Rules for storage are the same as for commercially canned food. BE SURE the foods were canned under currently approved canning methods. If in doubt, throw it out. Do not taste the food at all. Check with your county extension office for current food preservation guides.