Everything about storing canned goods
Storage PreparationJuly 5, 2020
These days, the prospect of having a good supply of canned goods seems quite enticing, truth be told. With the advent of this new virus, you may want to stay within your homes for prolonged periods of time. And having canned goods around is always a good way to ensure that you don’t have to go out of your way for food. However, storing canned goods is not as easy as it sounds. There are good and bad places to store them. For example, you don’t really want to store them in dorm room storage solutions but you may want to free up some space in your pantry. This article is going to explore where and how is the best way to store canned goods.
How to go about storing canned foods?
Here are some considerations that we will be going over:
- Storing canned goods in the pantry
- Keep canned goods in the refrigerator
- Can canned goods be kept in the freezer?
- How long does canned food last and how to tell when it has gone bad?
Storing canned goods in the pantry
Your pantry is the default place for cans. However, the storing place will largely depend on the condition of the cans. We will divide their condition into two categories:
- Unopened – These cans can safely go into the pantry, provided that they have no dents. The issue with cans that have dents is that dents themselves can cause holes in the can, on a microscopic level. But this is enough for the can to be compromised. The air will go in the environment that is supposed to be sealed and spoil the contents. It is best to use up dented cans straight away, provided they are still good. However, if you have a lot of canned goods, and you have no space in your pantry, you can also hire storage services and store your goods in one of the nearby storage units.
- Opened – You never want to store open cans in your pantry. Your best bet is to either consume their contents straight away or to place them inside a really cool environment, such as a fridge or a freezer.
And when it comes to placing your canned items within a refrigerator, we again have similar categories:
- Unopened – You don’t need to put these in the fridge, simply store them in the pantry. They are safe to store and do not require the extreme coolness of the fridge.
- Opened – This is what you use the fridge for. However, there are some considerations. You never want to simply slam the can with half of its contents into the fridge and forget about it. There is a disease that is called “botulism“, which is somewhat related to improperly canned foods. While there is not that much risk involved in commercially canned foods, which are held to the highest standard, it is something to ponder if you are canning your own food. Also, once the can is open and its contents exposed to the air, it will spoil quicker. But the main reason for not storing open cans in the fridge is that some of the coatings on the can may get corded by the food itself. In these cases, the food will taste really bad. This is especially true with any food of high acidities, such as tomatoes for example. Bottom line is, do not store open cans in the fridge. Remove the contents, alongside any residue such as brine or water. After that place the food inside an airtight container. That is how you properly store food in the refrigerator.
Then we come to the freezer. Generally, the freezer is not the best place for canned goods in either category.
- Unopened – You really do not want to place anything that is not open in the freezer. If there is liquid in the cans (as is the case, almost always), it will expand and eventually burst the can. This can cause quite a bit of damage to your freezer and its contents. While you can have the cans inside for a short period of time, do not forget to remove them as soon as possible. The freezer is definitely not made for long-term storage of canned goods.
- Opened – Again, it is possible to store opened goods in the freezer but it is not really recommended. Try to move some other things out of the fridge and move stuff around instead of storing canned items within the freezer. The freezer is the ideal place for storing perishable foods, but not ideal when it comes to canned ones.
How long does canned food last and how to tell when it has gone bad?
The expiration of properly stored canned items is usually quite long and that is not a case. There is the printed date, of course, but most of these items last for even longer. Usually, they will be safe to consume for up to three years after the expiry date on the can. However, for best results, try not to consume anything that is over 1 year after the expiry date. If you need to transport these items, you can either hire packing services or prepare them yourself. It all depends on how much work you plan to do. Storing canned goods can be quite a long process, depending on how much of them you have.
Did your food go bad?
You can tell if your canned food has gone rotten by looking at the:
- Smell – There will be an unpleasant odor once you open the can. You most likely know the can’s usual smell. This will be different and not really pleasant.
- Look – This is the most reliable way to figure out if the can is good. The first thing you look at is the bulges. If there are any, the likelihood of spoilage is really high. This bulging is due to the gas which appears when the food starts to rot. Also, look at the can top when you are opening the can. If there is any liquid or foam, it is most likely bad. Finally, see if there is any mold on the actual food inside. If there is but a hint of it, throw everything out.
- Taste – First of all, if you have any suspicions, do not taste the food. Even a small bite can put you at risk. But take small bites even if there are no other signs of spoiling. If the food tastes different, it most likely is bad. It is always better to err on the side of caution. If you are suspecting spoilage, it is safer to throw away the food than to eat it.