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Thread: For those who worry about exp. dates on cans

  1. #1
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    For those who worry about exp. dates on cans

    I was just reading the Cook's Illustrated magazine at the library and there was a small article they had on expiration dates of canned goods. Their conclusion was that dates don't mean a lot in terms of safety. Yes, some products will not be "best" if past best by because small changes can occur inside the can, but safey---unless it is bulging or leaking or the obvious stuff, safety is fine.
    Someone checked on a 100 year old can and it was still fine safety wise.
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

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    I thought I read somewhere years ago,maybe here?, that canned food was good for 5 years. I don't think I would want to eat something like that though. Thanks for sharing that info.

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    You think this is true for canned items like sweetened condensed milk or evaporated milk? I've tossed many of those before...

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    That's been my theory all along. I'm not sure I would eat something 100 years old, but I would/have eat(en) something that is pretty far past its date with no ill effects.
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    If my can is rusted on the top or bulging or it explodes (yes, I had a can of tomato sauce with still 1 good year of "best by" and it exploded), I will toss. But if it looks good and is fundamentally the same as it has been, I don't look much at the dates.
    Cook's illustrated pointed out (same explanation I received from someone working at a meat packing plant) that to test the longest time of quality is costly. Plus the shorter the time, the more frequently they figure you buy stuff.
    just my humble opinion.
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shugness View Post
    You think this is true for canned items like sweetened condensed milk or evaporated milk? I've tossed many of those before...
    Evaporated milk gets icky! Thick and , well, icky! I've thrown it out after opening.

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    evaporated milk *is* thick and icky.

    i am with you wallycat-never pay attention to the date. i would toss a can if it was bulging/rusted/exploded (duh. )
    - Josie


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    Quote Originally Posted by avariell View Post
    evaporated milk *is* thick and icky.

    i am with you wallycat-never pay attention to the date. i would toss a can if it was bulging/rusted/exploded (duh. )
    Seriously, it gets thick and yellowish. You would have to spoon it out of the can. Yuck!

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    Although canned food may be safe to eat after the expiration date, I am easily put off by the metallic taste. I find this especially true concerning canned carrots, green beans, and tomatoes.

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    I agree that the type of food canned may make a difference.
    I have read blogs where people brag that canned sardines just get better the older they are.
    I have only used canned veggies when I travel and am not pleased with them even when they are just canned, let alone years past expiration date.
    Things like coconut milk, artichoke hearts, etc...may not matter, though I did have a can of artichoke hearts that had that easy-pull-tab thing and found the tab flailing in the air in my basement. They were still within expiration date, so clearly it makes sense to check the can.
    As for taste, well, a lot of people worry about texture and taste...for them it may matter; for those using it in something (broth, canned veggies, etc.) it may just be a safety issue.
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

  11. #11
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    that's probably a big part of the issue... i would never eat canned carrots, peas, green beans, etc. so their taste cannot be worsened to me-already awful as is.

    canned milk, i will use-especially because you tend to cook/bake with them, so the flavor isn't noticeable (but i also bake with spoiled milk regularly).

    i mostly use home canned goods like tomatoes, which are canned in glass, and you get no metallic flavor.
    - Josie


  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shugness View Post
    You think this is true for canned items like sweetened condensed milk or evaporated milk? I've tossed many of those before...
    Quote Originally Posted by vbak View Post
    Evaporated milk gets icky! Thick and , well, icky! I've thrown it out after opening.
    I'm not sure about evaporated milk, but I've had sweetened condensed milk past it's date that looked like caramel, and had to be spooned out of the can -- I didn't feel good about using it, more for the spreadability and taste than anything else.
    Kay
    I'm a WYSIWYG person -- no subterfuge here!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by wallycat View Post
    I have read blogs where people brag that canned sardines just get better the older they are.
    Interesting. I don't think I'd take that risk. Then, if you add enough salt, you can safely eat fermented fish from slightly bulging cans. That's if you're a crazy Swede who likes surströmming.

    Like wallycat I've also had canned tomatoes explode upon opening Expiration date doesn't say anything about storage conditions. Who knows what the temperature can be in a truck or warehouse when it's 115° in the shade? The solidified bags of chocolate chips I found in our not-so-good, local grocery store made me ask that question.
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