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Life expectancy of canned food?

 
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 189801
United States
10/08/2007 10:31 AM
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Life expectancy of canned food?
Can anyone tell me how long canned food will keep?

My wife and I are in the process of building up our emergency food supply and we are trying to determine our long range plan.

I would much rather go with canned food over dehydrated for the long term, if possible.
ReticentEnigma

User ID: 207164
United States
10/08/2007 10:36 AM
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Re: Life expectancy of canned food?
Buy only canned goods with dates on them.
On average, a can will have a date 3 years out.
If it's made October 2006, it is best used by October 2009.

However, if it is kept in the home under controlled temperatures, you can extend the life to about 6 years.

If it's expired, just smell & taste it. If it seems fine, then it's okay to eat. Your nose will tell you if something is wrong.

It will lose much of it's nutritional value at that age, but it will be enough to sustain you.
Much better than having nothing at all.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 295225
United States
10/08/2007 10:46 AM
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Re: Life expectancy of canned food?
The vast majority of cans have expiration dates on them. Used to, many of them had a "secret code" that the manufacturer invented, making it difficult to tell the dates.

Most are 2-3 years. Supposedly, if they're kept cool, they'll last longer than that, but from someone who's had food poisoning, I don't like to take chances.

Spam lasts 5 years or so. Tuna, canned ham, and canned chicken all last a good long time, as well.

I'm not much on dehydrated foods because they need water to reconstitute them. If water is in short supply, that's not a good thing. I do have some dehydrated foods in my pantry, but have plenty of canned goods as well.

hf
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 287854
United States
10/08/2007 11:01 AM
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Re: Life expectancy of canned food?
Water is a concern I have . So. I have been cooking my beans and then canning them. So, if I am short on water, I can just heat them long enough to make sure they are safe to eat ( 2o0 mins kills botulism spores if present). I intend to can my chicken broth and soups also. In jars I can at least keep an eye on them.

Another thing. When I was in Girl Scounts ( long ago), we made what was called Buddy Burners. They consisted of a small can ( like a tuna or catfood can) with coiled corrugated cardboard curled up inside. Then we covered the cardboard with paraffin, until the can was full. When lighted, this made a source of heat to cook food.

We took a gallon sized can and cut a flap at the bottom and a few holes at the top for air circulation. The buddy burner is lit and placed under the "stove" and you can cook on the top of the stove. ( Do outside tho).

We used to fry bacon on one at GS meetings. Wrap it around a soda cracker. yum.

But anyway. This would be a way to cook food if electricity is out. Of course you can use propane or whatever , too.

Hope this gives someone an idea.
wing-ed

User ID: 281371
United States
10/08/2007 11:05 AM

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Re: Life expectancy of canned food?
Praise The Holy Of Holy :: If the can builds any pressure inside its bad !
Holy, holy,holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.Praise the one who gives you peace beyond all understanding Yes that scripture still sounds good !
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 180437
United States
10/08/2007 11:12 AM
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Re: Life expectancy of canned food?
There's a great food inventory program to use for keeping your stocks rotated and organised even if you don't have much...
I've used it and it is tremendous in giving you idea of what you really need vs what you want. You can print out shopping lists of inventory and even monitor a budget for it as well.

[link to www.foodstorageplanner.com]
It costs about $40 US
Jos
User ID: 146998
United States
10/08/2007 11:31 AM
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Re: Life expectancy of canned food?
In the navy in the early 60s we ate c-rations canned
in the 40s.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 144626
United States
10/08/2007 11:40 AM
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Re: Life expectancy of canned food?
Merely mark your food cans and water containers with a Sharpie permanent marker when you buy them. Rotate newest purchases to the back of the pack. Occasionally use some in cooking and buy two more.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 144626
United States
10/08/2007 11:41 AM
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Re: Life expectancy of canned food?
Length of storage of cans depends on temperature. with a marking, one can figure it out.
cempfire
User ID: 823783
United States
11/21/2009 09:02 AM
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Re: Life expectancy of canned food?
In 1980 we ate a canned ration of yellow cake with chocolate frosting. The date on the can was 1939. It was fresh and yum. I also regularly use items that the date is past. That is a selling guideline. Old canned food is usually perfectly fine. Cook well and do the taste and smell test. You are not going to get sick over a taste! Also get a clue. Bot spores comes from having an open can or the item was not cooked well. Trust dole, delmonte, bush and all major brands that they follow strick guidelines in canning food. Check if the can is swollen also use your eyes and ears when opening cans. Lots of goop or a large gas release when cracking the seal with the can opener could be a sign that you should chunk it.
Wraithwynd

User ID: 717743
United States
11/22/2009 12:03 AM
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Re: Life expectancy of canned food?
BTW the Best By Date does not mean rot.

Food is 'living' matter, even when cooked. nutrients like Vitamins 'leech out' and transform over time. This is why Vitamin pills are only good for about a year.

Best By on a food can usually means that by that date the food is still 'nutritionally' sound - after than date it starts loosing its nutritional value, nearly 1/4 of its nutrition is lost in the first year after the 'use by' date, half is gone 2 years out and then it starts dropping by halfs, half of the half the third year, half of the half of the half the fourth year... and so on.

It happens to all food, be it grain, ground grained, 'dried', freeze dried, frozen, irradiated, canned, blah.

Do stock up, but run your larder/pantry like a store. Use the older stuff first and put new stuff behind. Plan on eating what you have today by 2 years time (that's really more than you would need)

MRE's and other long stored foods are 'fortified' with vitamins thus they can last longer (be nutritionally sound).
Sinkhole list:
Thread: Sinkholes Updated 28 Dec 2010
find a sinkhole, add it to this thread, please.

"Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him." (1 John 3:15, NKJV).
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 824274
Australia
11/22/2009 12:08 AM
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Re: Life expectancy of canned food?
I hate to break it to you but its already Dead!!

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