Canned goods are every mom’s lifesaver. Out of dinner ideas? Open a can of soup or sardines, throw in a couple of veggies, and everyone in the family is happy. Too busy to slice up fruits for dessert? Grab a can of fruit cocktail and no one is the wiser. Canned goods are a definite staple in every pantry and kitchen because not only are they convenient, they are cheap and pretty tasty, too!
During the current lockdown period, canned goods have proven once again that they are the top-of-mind food for every Filipino household. Unlike usual foods that are easily perishable, canned goods can be stored for months or sometimes, even years. However, there are also limits to how long food quality can be preserved since a lot of factors decrease the shelf life of canned goods.
So, what factors affect the shelf life of canned goods?
This applies to both cans and metal lids on glass jars. If the rust is deep, they create tiny holes in the can or lid, exposing the food to many spoilage agents. Rusting can happen in shipping accidents or bad storage practices.
Ever opened a can of food and have it taste like metal? That reaction is called ‘corrosion.’ Food, especially high acid ones like canned tomatoes and fruit juices, react chemically with metal. Over time, this causes changes in taste and texture, eventually lowering the nutritional value of the food.
Very high temperatures
The likelihood of spoilage increases as the temperature does. 37°C is a red flag for canned goods. Prolonged storage in temperatures beyond that mark can result in the loss of nutrients, along with color changes.
A drawn-out shelf life
Sure, canned food can be stored and eaten months after production. However, they can also be immune to expiration. Their shelf life can vary from 1-4 years depending on the type of food and the way it is stored. Even if there are no signs of spoilage, the food may deteriorate in color, flavor and nutritional value.
Store canned food properly by following these guidelines:
- Keep it out of sunlight. Direct exposure can affect color, flavor and overall food quality.
- Store the cans in a cool, clean, dry place, preferably a pantry or drawer. Storing inside the refrigerator is ill-advised as condensation may happen. This can result in corroded metal, broken seals, recontamination and spoilage.
- Check for rust spots, damage or leakages.
- Use from storage, meaning, always use the “first-in, first-out” method. This way, the oldest cans can be opened and eaten first.
- If you have food in glass jars, make sure they are sealed as airtight as possible. Loose metal lids means that the food inside has been exposed to air and is no longer safe to eat.
If you are not going to use or consume the can’s full content at once, it’s important to note that the leftovers should not be stored in the fridge while still in the tin container. Why? Doing so can lead to fatal results.
Botulism is food poisoning caused by botulinum, the bacteria growing on improperly sterilized canned goods. While botulism can only likely happen in canning facilities that have poor hygiene standards, it still remains as a fatal threat.
The best way to ensure that this doesn’t happen is to buy canned goods only from trusted brands with regularly maintained and sanitized canning facilities. It’s also good practice to check cans and packaging for dents and other signs of wear and tear before purchasing.
The best way to reduce the risk of exposure to botulism is to empty the can’s remaining contents in an airtight container. Don’t forget to include the water, syrup or brine with the leftovers as it helps in preserving the food for longer periods of time, while maintaining its taste and texture. After you’ve transferred the leftovers to a safe, airtight container, store it in the fridge, at the back where it’s coldest. Low temperatures can further extend the life span of the food. It also stops them from being exposed to frequent temperature changes when opening the refrigerator.
If you have canned foods that have been in your pantry for more than 2 years, make sure to check them thoroughly.
- Examine the can by holding it upright at eye level, rotate it and check the outside surface for streaks of dried food.
- Once the can is opened, check for rising air bubbles, spurting liquid, unnatural colors, and cotton-like mold growth.
Mas mapapadami ang #pinaSARAP moments mo with the family with properly stored canned goods. Kaya Prime Moms, remember these simple steps so your canned food can go the extra mile!
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