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Old 08-24-2011, 06:46 PM
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Default Shelf life on self canned foods?



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So many folks say that canned food can last veritably forever so long as it it kept in a cool dry place. I assume they are talking about canned foods from the store. But what about home canned foods? In my father in laws basement, he has many, many cans of foods that were canned by my husbands Mom who passed away in 2001. The lids are not busted, there is no mold or brackish looking liquid in there...it just looks like green beans, etc. So how long does home canned food last? Should we empty them all and sanitize/refill for the sake of safety, or would you open them and try it?
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Old 08-24-2011, 08:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleygreen View Post
So many folks say that canned food can last veritably forever so long as it it kept in a cool dry place. I assume they are talking about canned foods from the store. But what about home canned foods? In my father in laws basement, he has many, many cans of foods that were canned by my husbands Mom who passed away in 2001. The lids are not busted, there is no mold or brackish looking liquid in there...it just looks like green beans, etc. So how long does home canned food last? Should we empty them all and sanitize/refill for the sake of safety, or would you open them and try it?
I would check the top, if it's still sealed (i.e. doesn't depress when you press with your finger) then go ahead and open it. Smell the food. If it smells fine, then heat it over a stove (stir fry the green beans, for instance) and give it a try. If that works then you're probably fine eating everything else that is sealed too. If it's really old then the texture may be off and the nutrients reduced, but that's not going to hurt you.
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Old 08-27-2011, 04:28 PM
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I can tell you that when my grandmother died in 2005, we opened some of the the best canned carrots and green beens that I have ever eaten... they were canned in 1976
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Old 08-28-2011, 06:51 AM
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They should be fine provided they are sealed properly.
Old 08-28-2011, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Chesapeake Boy View Post
I can tell you that when my grandmother died in 2005, we opened some of the the best canned carrots and green beens that I have ever eaten... they were canned in 1976
In the back of the basement pantry, I noticed several jars of tomatos and meat that were canned in 1984 by my mother who passed away in 1999. I opened them, smelled, and tasted. All was good.
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Old 08-28-2011, 09:53 AM
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I didn't know canned food would last that long. Good info to know.
Old 08-29-2011, 01:47 PM
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The storage life for home canned foods is the same as for commercially canned ones. Many years if they remain sealed. Just as in commercial foods, they can't actually rot or spoil as long as they're sealed. But over the years, taste and texture can decrease.

As a safeguard, they should always be simmered for 10 minutes or so before eating. This would destroy any botulism toxin, should it be present. Properly canned, botulism is not a worry, as proven by the impressively low number of cases every year. Most of which are caused by restaurants. But simmering is a good secondary defense, just for safety.
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Old 02-14-2014, 02:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Chesapeake Boy View Post
I can tell you that when my grandmother died in 2005, we opened some of the the best canned carrots and green beens that I have ever eaten... they were canned in 1976
usually these canned goods are made of tin metal. even without corrossion, won't tin be poisonous given a great length of time. let's say 20 YEARS??
Old 02-14-2014, 09:12 AM
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The storage life for home canned foods is the same as for commercially canned ones. Many years if they remain sealed. Just as in commercial foods, they can't actually rot or spoil as long as they're sealed. But over the years, taste and texture can decrease.

As a safeguard, they should always be simmered for 10 minutes or so before eating. This would destroy any botulism toxin, should it be present. Properly canned, botulism is not a worry, as proven by the impressively low number of cases every year. Most of which are caused by restaurants. But simmering is a good secondary defense, just for safety.

While I agree whole heartedly with the first statement, the second statement about boiling food for 10 minutes is a dangerous myth. Botulism toxin is NOT destroyed by boiling water alone. It can be destroyed by acid levels or must be pressure canned at 240 degrees before it can be eliminated. So if you doubt a can in your storage, throw it away.
Sources:
http://www.cdc.gov/features/homecanning/
http://www.nwedible.com/2013/07/how-...dly-toxin.html

HTH!
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Old 02-14-2014, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by catfeet View Post
While I agree whole heartedly with the first statement, the second statement about boiling food for 10 minutes is a dangerous myth. Botulism toxin is NOT destroyed by boiling water alone. It can be destroyed by acid levels or must be pressure canned at 240 degrees before it can be eliminated. So if you doubt a can in your storage, throw it away.
Sources:
http://www.cdc.gov/features/homecanning/
http://www.nwedible.com/2013/07/how-...dly-toxin.html

HTH!
You're confusing botulism toxin (botulinum) with botulism spores. The spores are the reason we acidify or pressure can foods. They can't grow in high acid environments. And it requires higher heat than boiling to kill them in low acid environments.

The toxin however is quickly broken down at temperatures below the boiling point. That's common advice from the agricultural extension agency as a safety backup for home canners just in case they do make a mistake in processing.
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Old 02-14-2014, 11:05 AM
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I'm not actually, but it's a fair enough assumption. The toxin itself decomposes at 180 degrees. However, where the toxin lives, the bacteria and thus spores live to produce it, and if any spores get into the gut, they will reproduce and cause botulism. The spores are the difficult thing to eliminate, requiring the higher temperature.
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Old 02-14-2014, 12:36 PM
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I was told, if dented inwards use with caution.
If bulged outward don't even bother using
Old 02-14-2014, 12:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catfeet View Post
I'm not actually, but it's a fair enough assumption. The toxin itself decomposes at 180 degrees. However, where the toxin lives, the bacteria and thus spores live to produce it, and if any spores get into the gut, they will reproduce and cause botulism. The spores are the difficult thing to eliminate, requiring the higher temperature.
The spores can't reproduce in an adult gut. It's too acidic. But they can reproduce in the gut of an infant. This is why it's not safe to give them honey until they're a year old or so.

The spores themselves are harmless to adults. We eat them everyday. They're on almost all vegetable foods. They live in the soil and are easily transported by the air.
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Old 02-14-2014, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Ryn View Post
They should be fine provided they are sealed properly.
And if not sealed properly, ... after 20 years it would be green and fuzzy.
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Old 02-14-2014, 01:57 PM
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And, point to MikeK for better information! Ya learn something every day. Thanks for the nice debate. :-) The CDC says "Adult intestinal toxemia (adult intestinal colonization) botulism is a very rare kind of botulism that occurs among adults by the same route as infant botulism." http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/divisions/...ases/botulism/
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Old 02-19-2014, 09:46 AM
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26257116

explosive herring? anyone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleygreen View Post
So many folks say that canned food can last veritably forever so long as it it kept in a cool dry place. I assume they are talking about canned foods from the store. But what about home canned foods? In my father in laws basement, he has many, many cans of foods that were canned by my husbands Mom who passed away in 2001. The lids are not busted, there is no mold or brackish looking liquid in there...it just looks like green beans, etc. So how long does home canned food last? Should we empty them all and sanitize/refill for the sake of safety, or would you open them and try it?
Old 02-19-2014, 11:25 AM
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We just had chicken home canned in 2/09 in last nights chicken and dumplings. I'm still here doing just fine. Going to eat it again for lunch. And that is bone in home canned chicken. Five years and we still have half a dozen more from that year. We ate another quart jar last week with 2009 rice stored in a juice bottle under the bed.
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Old 03-08-2014, 02:54 PM
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Over the summer I went up up to Michigan to see where my family is from. Half of my family immigrated to Bad Ax and lived on a farm there. It's on the tip of the thumb. Anyways. A great uncle of mine found a can of home canned peaches in the basement that had been there AT LEAST 40 years. He promptly opened them and consumed the entire can as everyone else freaked out. He said they were as good as when he ate them as a kid. Now I obviously dont recommend that to everyone. But I dont think properly canned food has a shelf life. It may keep forever and It will definitely outlive me.

I immediately bought a pressure canner when I got home. It is without a doubt the best prepper purchase I have made. You cannot save as much money prepping with any other item. Period.
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Old 03-08-2014, 06:09 PM
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A couple of posters seem to be confusing "canned" vs "home canned" -- people don't home can in tin or metal cans, but in glass jars. Therefore, leaching metal or dents aren't an issue.
Old 03-08-2014, 06:32 PM
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Jam in a can from 1996 turned back into a liquid.. it's not bad it's just not jam anymore. It was home canned in a glass jar put in a cool dry place. 2 years tends to be what most things last on average. The key is can what you need till the next growning season that's what most people used to do.

Ps I ate it and it was fine no ill effects. It was like a juice though instead of jam.

14 year old craft dinner the cheese turned red but the noodles are fine just like a new pack. So lots of things last a long time. (past expiry date)


This is what you do for home canned jars check the lid make sure it's not bubbled up as the lids don't always last a long time. If it popped up throw it away if it didn't open it smell it and see if it has a bad smell then taste a small amount and wait. Once you wait a while and it tasted fine (1 hour is good) then eat it should be fine. I found a can of peachs that was canned in 1992 and I ate it in 2012 it was really good.

meat tends to last the least amount of time so it depends on the item as well.
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