Storing Food in the Cupboard

Canned and dried foods

Canned fruit juices

  • Keep cool
    9 months

Canned foods opened

  • Close jar tightly and refrigerate
  • For all opened canned foods, transfer foods in cans to glass or plastic storage containers
  • Tightly cover and refrigerate
  • If left in the opened can, the food can be contaminated from lead solder used in can's seam
  • Baby food
    2 to 3 days
  • Fish and seafood
    2 days
  • Fruit
    1 week
  • Meats
    2 days
  • Pickles, olives
    1 to 2 months
  • Poultry
    2 days
  • Sauce, tomato
    5 days
  • Vegetables
    3 days

Canned foods unopened

  • Keep cool
    12 months


  • Keep cool in airtight container
  • Refrigerate if possible
  • Dried
    6 months


  • Keep cool in airtight container
  • Refrigerate if possible
  • Dried
    1 year
  • Dehydrated flakes
    6 months

Can do and don't

Canned foods do have a long shelf life, but don't neglect them for several years and then suddenly decide to use them. Theses aged canned goods may be safe to eat, but their color, flavor, texture and nutritive value may have deteriorated.

Store canned foods in a dry place at moderately cool but not freezing temperatures. Rotate foods so the oldest is used first. Try not to keep canned foods more than one year. Canned fruit juices should not be kept more than nine months. Shelf life will be shorter when canned goods are stored above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. A slight breakdown of texture may result from freezing some canned foods, but generally a single freezing and thawing does not adversely affect them. Be sure to check cans and jars of food that have been frozen for any breaks in the seals. Discard any food that has a broken seal or leaks.

Take precautions

The outward appearance of canned goods can indicate danger. Watch out for:

  • Bulging cans
    They are spoiled. Throw away.
  • Dented cans
    Do not buy cans with dents on the side seam or on the rim seams at the top or bottom of the can. Check carefully for leakage, especially around the seam. Throw leaky cans away.
  • Rusty cans
    Check for leakage. The rust may have penetrated the can.