Wed. Oct 20th, 2021

Long-term food storage isn’t strictly necessary in today’s society, but it can help you stretch your dollar and your food supply.

Meal preparation can save you time and money, and it may even save your life in an emergency.

Canned foods are a terrific alternative for long-term food preservation, and canning your own meals at home allows you to keep track of the ingredients and know precisely what you’re putting into your body when it’s time to eat. They’re usually the ones that prevent hunger too.

Many canned products sold in stores contain a slew of hazardous additives and preservatives.

Canning your own food not only allows you to customise the flavour of the food, but it also allows you to store it without the use of hazardous chemicals or unnatural components.

What Is the Shelf Life of Home Canned Foods?

The shelf life of canned food in your house is determined by the type of food you’re preserving. Most home-canned foods have a one-year shelf life in general.

This is usually less time than store-bought canned products, which are loaded with preservatives to preserve them from rotting.

Store-bought canned products have a two- to five-year shelf life. While purchasing canned items from the store may extend their shelf life, you will be sacrificing important nutrients and absorbing hazardous additives in return.

How Can I Make My Home-Canned Foods Last Longer?

Just because home-canned foods don’t survive as long as store-bought canned products doesn’t imply it’s not a viable or cost-effective food storage option.

To get the most out of your canned foods at home, you only need to be careful and take some precautions.

The can bulge or explode if your food has gone bad or is infected. If the top of the can has popped off, the seal has broken, or there are any leaks, the food has most certainly gone bad and should be thrown away.

Here are some tips for extending the life of your canned goods and getting the most usage out of them:

System of food rotation

Using a food rotation method can help you use up the oldest canned goods first, while preserving the newest canned foods for later. Be a note of the date you prepared the cans and make sure you use the oldest ones first.

Storage space that is adequate

It’s critical to preserve canned products in the proper conditions to ensure that they last as long as possible. In general, canned goods should be kept cool, dry, and dark.

The optimum location is a pantry or basement with temperature control. The majority of canned foods should not be kept in the fridge or in direct sunlight.

Select the appropriate storage container

Many items come in cans rather than alternative packaging options for a reason. Metal cans are your best bet for proper food storage, even if clear mason jars are more aesthetically pleasing and allow you to see what’s going on inside.

They also offer the advantage of blocking light and some heat while maintaining an airtight seal.

What to Avoid

There are some things you should avoid in order to keep your food as long as possible, just as there are some procedures you can take to increase the shelf life of your canned products.

Water

Throw aside any food that has become wet or has been exposed to moisture in any manner. Bacteria and pests thrive in moist environments.

Heat

Heat drastically reduces the shelf life of canned foods. Throw aside any canned items that have been exposed to hot heat or direct sunlight. Food spoils faster when exposed to light and heat, and bugs thrive in this environment.

Resealing and Reopening

When you open a tin of canned food, the timer on its expiration starts ticking. Most of the time, you shouldn’t open a can of food and then reseal it, expecting it to last as long as it did when you first canned it.

The food has been exposed to oxygen, moisture in the air, and a change in temperature as a result of opening the can, all of which can lead to contamination. Before opening another can, finish the one you’ve already opened, and avoid opening and resealing many times if at all possible.

Food that hasn’t been washed or dirty containers

Make sure your cans, or whatever storage container you pick, are clean and dry before using them.

This not only protects your food from contamination, but it also prevents any residue from seeping into it.

Before canning, make sure you thoroughly wash any goods to remove surface microorganisms and pesticides.

Now that you’ve learned the essentials, you may confidently and properly make the most of your canned foods at home.

References

  • Andress, Elizabeth. “History, Science and Current Practice in Home Food Preservation.” Webinar. 27 February 2013. 1:15:45. Accessed January 2015.
  • Ibid. At 1:26:50
  • Jessica Piper. Video: Canning Lids 101. 8:25. Accessed March 2015
  • Ibid. At 5:33.
  • Ibid. At 5:07 and 9:15.
  • Ball. How Long does Canned Food Last. Accessed June 2016 at https://www.freshpreserving.com/tools/faqs/how-long-does-canned-food-last
  • Abraham, Lois. Best-before dates guide food quality, not safety, experts say. Canadian Press. 14 March 2016.
  • Roach, Keith. Your Good Health: Drug not the cause of bone-marrow disorder. Victoria, BC: Times Colonialist. 19 February 2016.
  • Abraham, Lois. Best-before dates guide food quality, not safety, experts say. Canadian Press. 14 March 2016.
  • Andress, Elizabeth. “History, Science and Current Practice in Home Food Preservation.” Webinar. 27 February 2013. 1:15:30. Accessed January 2015.
  • E. M. D’Sa, E. L. Andress, J. A. Harrison and M. A. Harrison. Thermal Process Development to Ensure the Safety of a Home-Canned Lemon Curd Product. Department of Foods & Nutrition Extension, (2) Department of Food Science & Technology, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-4356. Paper 020D-06. Presented at the Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL, June 26, 2006. Accessed August 2016.

By Beth

I'm Beth Nunes, the proprietor of preparing in the city. My family is the most important thing in the world to me. I couldn't bear the thought of my three small children going hungry, so I became obsessed with finding simple and practical ways to be prepared for the future by building food storage and gathering other emergency preparedness items.

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