If you’re like most of us, you’ve got a pantry full of canned food.
From black beans to pickled items, sauces, and beyond, canned food is convenient, delicious, and the perfect addition to your pattern of fresh cooking.
But how long does canned food really last?
Before you start tossing out your “expired” cans, it’s smart to learn the basics of canned food, and how long you can expect it to stay good.
5 Top Benefits of Canned Food
Whether you’re keeping canned food on hand for convenience or to have an emergency store of food to get you through a power outage or natural disaster ,these are some of the biggest benefits of canned food:
1. Long Shelf Life
Some canned foods last anywhere between 2-25 years (and sometimes more!) This is easily the primary reason for the popularity of canned food, and goes to show that, most of the time, there’s no need to toss out your canned goods after a few years.
2. Safe Storage
During a power outage or natural disaster, it’s common for refrigerators and freezers to stop being reliable. Luckily, canned food can easily be stored anywhere, and you don’t have to worry about insects getting into it.
3. Few Preservatives
Surprisingly, not all canned foods are not loaded with preservatives. Some contain additional amounts of salt, oil, or water to preserve foods, but nothing you should worry about. Always check the label to make sure excessive amounts of salt and sugar have not been added. In most cases, a simple rinsing prior to consuming can reduce up to 45% of the listed sodium content.
4. Low Cost
Canned foods are significantly cheaper than “fresh” produce and meat. And because you don’t have to worry about canned food expiring, you won’t waste nearly as much money on food that will eventually spoil in your fridge.
5. Quality Nutrition
You might have already stereotyped canned food as subpar when it comes to nutrition. But canned food is often more nutritional than “fresh” produce at the grocery store. How is this possible?
Most foods in the produce section were grown in a foreign country or state, stored and shipped, then stored again at the grocery store for several days before you bought it, stored it in your fridge, and eventually ate it.
Canned foods, on the other hand, are typically processed hours after harvest. This process seals in the freshness and nutritional value.
So How Long Does Canned Food Last?
How long the canned food will last depend on the food in the can and the storage conditions.
According to the US FSIS, “‘Use-by’ dates usually refer to best quality and are not safety dates….Canned foods are safe indefinitely as long as they are not exposed to freezing temperatures, or temperatures above 90 °F (32.2° C). If the cans look ok, they are safe to use.”
If you’re worried a canned food item has expired, check for the following signs:
- There is mold or scum on the surface of the food
- The food has an unpleasant smell
- The food tastes musky or old
Canned foods are the workhorses of your household pantry. In addition to having a long shelf life, they’re versatile, delicious, and nutritious – perfect for meeting your fitness goals and keeping mealtime easy!
Our team at The Fitness Tribe often collaborates together to produce content. When you see “TFT Team” this is because the content was not written by a single author, but rather a team effort.