How Long Does Tinned Food Last?


tin can on gravel surface

You’ve stacked up your survival shelter. Five years have passed and now you are wondering if those cans of beans have gone out of date. Knowing the quality of your stored food is vital to your chances of survival.

Depending on the type of food and the condition of a tinned cans, they should last from 1 to 5 years. Acid content in the food can be a factor too. Low acid foods (most vegetables, beans and potatoes) should last from 2 to 5 years. High acid foods (most fruits, vinegar based goods) last around 18 months. Always check the manufacturers expiry date.

Once a tin (also called a can) is open the shelf life is drastically reduced from years to days. Once opened contents should be transferred to airtight plastic containers and refrigerated. All foods should be then be consumed within a 3 to 5 days.

Refrigeration is one of the most important elements for preppers. Long term storage of food is vital for survival. High protein, high calorie tinned, jarred and pickled foods are great long terms solutions, but only for as long as they remain sealed and are within date. If you were to suffer a power outage during a crisis, the food within your fridge and freezers would quickly deteriorate. Make sure you are well stocked with cans of easy to prepare food.

Keep A Food Stock Diary

With so much food stored away, it can be difficult to remember what you have and when it’s expiry date is. Using a diary or printed spreadsheet will allow you to keep a note of stock levels and watch out for upcoming use-by dates.

Tip: Print out a copy of your food stock diary every time you update it. In the event of a loss of power, you need to be able to access it.

You should also keep a Water Stock Diary – find out more in our post: How Long Does Bottle Water Last?

Check The Condition Of The Tins

Tins should be tighly sealed, unopened and dent free. Even the smallest dent can push through and damage the lining inside the tin. This could allow air to enter and bacteria to grow. A good visual examination of every tin should be part of your stock checking procedure.

We are always tempted to stack lots of tins on top of each other, but this can cause the ones at the bottom to buckle and pop open with all the weight pushing down on them. Better to erect simple shelfs and stack the tins four or five high.

Don’t Take The Risk

If a tinned food is well by it’s use-by date, bin it and replace it. Better still, check with your food diary and use it just before it goes out of date. You will save money and reduce waste. Out of date tinned food can appear normal, but there is no guarantee that it won’t give you an upset stomach or worse.

Prepper IQ

We prep to prepare for the day we hope will never come. We believe in the old saying that it is better to safe than sorry. Prepare now to survive in the future. Learn the survival skills today that you may need to survive tommorow.

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