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· Survivor
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I was wondering if anyone knows the shelf life of canned baked beans. This is one food I could eat everyday hot or cold. they are easy to store and aren't real expensive to buy.
Store bought or home canned? Store bought will have an expiration date and the cans will eventually rust through from either the inside or the outside. Home canned aren't all that hard to make and can but the dried beans are easier to store and I like to make up a batch and can them as needed.
 

· The 5 Will Survive
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2,919 Posts
I believe that Bushes Baked Beans have a very long shelf life. I think they are made by Hormel, Hormel cooks their food in the can, which makes the food last almost forever, though the texture is likely to change.

Someone more knowledgeable than me might be able to comment on the validity of this.
 

· Preparing
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I had some Bush's baked beans that I just lost track of and didn't rotate.

There was not an Expiration Date on the can but there was a Best By date which was 3 years previous :eek:

Anyway, the can was still in good shape so I ate some. Taste and texture had deteriorated a bit but still tasted generally good.

I'm assuming the nutritional content also deteriorated but have no way to verify that.

No hard data here; just an individual experience FWIW. :rolleyes:
 

· The 5 Will Survive
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A quick search yields this.

What is the shelf-life of Hormel foods in an unopened can?

The product is always safe to consume as long as the seal has remained intact, unbroken and securely attached. However, the flavor and freshness of the product gradually begin to decline after three years from the manufacturing date.

http://www.hormelfoods.com/About/FAQs/FAQs.aspx

Props to the OP for the Blazing Saddles reference.
 

· Premium Member
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As many times as we've had the "how long do canned foods last" discussion and still nobody could give an answer?

Hormel, Del Monte, and a few other canneries as well as the USDA or FDA (forgot which) and Agricultural Extension Agency have all said the same thing. Low acid canned foods are safe to eat as long as the can remains safely sealed. That's essentially indefinitely.

This only make sense when you think about it. The food inside is sterile because of the high heat canning process. So it can't "rot" or "spoil" unless new bacteria can get in.

The texture of some foods will change over time, but the change is fairly slow. I've eaten cans of beef stew and chili that were many years past the "best by" date on the can and they were identical to new.

Nutrition can fade over time too, but that's a very slow process. Lab tests done on 40 year old canned foods showed a surprising level of vitamins and such. In fact, the 40 year old corn was hardly distinguishable from new.

The date on the can is NOT an "expiration" date. It's a "best by" date. That's how long the cannery guarantees the food to be identical to new. After they they stop guaranteeing it to limit their own liability, since they can't control how those cans are stored or handled.

The exceptions are acidic foods. These can corrode the can from within and cause microscopic pinholes from which bacteria can enter. The other exception, for reasons I don't quite understand yet, are dairy foods such as condensed or evaporated milk. They change drastically in taste and texture and turn absolutely disgusting after a few years. They're probably still totally safe to consume, but yuck! Who would want to.
 
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