Updated: November 7, 2019

How Long Does Canned Food Last?

canned foods in russiaIn every practical preppers stockpile, there will never be a shortage of canned foods; they are a staple in everyone’s plans. But there are many people who think that just because food is in a can it can last for many years. Though canned foods can last for a long time, you still need to make sure that they are still safe to consume when it comes time to open them. Here in this article, you will learn a few important things that you need to know about canned food and how you can use them in extreme situations.

How long do they really last?

Knowing how long does canned food last is important when you plan on storing them for long periods. The actual length of time that canned food can last is actually dependent on their content. The expiration date of one or two years that are printed on the cans are not really indicative of when the foodstuff inside are still edible; they are more likely placed there to prevent the contents from tasting a bit off.

Some of the canned foods that are known to last for a long time (some are known to last for up to ten years) are tomatoes and other acidic foods, fruits that are preserved in syrup are also good candidates because the large amounts of sugar in them prevent the growth of bacteria. Canned meats surprisingly have very long shelf lives, some people attest that they can last for two to five years.

There is even a report about a can of meat that was found in shipwreck that is more than a hundred years old, and the contents were analyzed it was found that the meat was still edible; though it is not recommended that you keep canned meats in your stockpile for more than ten years or so.

How Can You Tell if the Canned Food Has Gone Bad?

Here are some signs that you have to look for so that you will know which of your canned foods should be thrown out:

  1. If the ends of the can are bulging outward. The bulging is caused by the gases produced by the bacteria that have spoiled the content of the can.
  2. If the can or lid shows signs of heavy corrosion. Even small amounts of rust should raise a red flag in your mind to remind you to throw out that can.
  3. If food has seeped through the top. If the pressure buildup inside the can has exceeded the maximum capacity, it will create small holes along the seams and force some of the contents through it.
  4. If there are some gases that escaped when you tried to open the can, and if there is a disgusting odor coming out of the can, then you should throw it out immediately.

These are signs that botulism bacteria have found their way into the food in the cans; and if you consume the contents still, you will suffer from botulism poisoning, and it is almost always fatal.

How to Extend the Shelf Life of Canned Foods

Even though canning food is meant to extend their shelf life, you can add more years to their usability by following these simple tips:

  • Coat the cans in candle wax to prevent the tin from rusting.
  • Store the cans away from direct sunlight, preferably someplace where the temperature does not exceed forty degrees and the humidity is not that high.

You can really make full use of your food stockpile now that you know how long does canned food last. Though canned foods do not last quite as long as dried foods, they do provide a lot more nutrients, and more importantly, they can provide you with comfort during the hard times. Read about great survival machetes, multitools, and hunting knives.

Peter Stec
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