How to store canned food after opening

In this brief guide we will answer the question, “how to store canned food after opening?” as well as other questions pertaining to the subject at hand like how long does canned food take to go bad. Moreover, we will also discuss the shelf life of canned food before and after opening it. 

How to store canned food after opening

Storing canned food after opening it is the most critical step. Canned food contains a brine mixture that acts as a preservative. On exposure to air, this mixture can get oxidized easily. The moment you open your canned food and allow contact with air, the oxidation process will start. 

You should never use the same can for storing canned food because it will not be airtight. Moreover, the moisture will make the can rust and it will create an off odor in your food. The best way to store canned food after opening is to put it in an airtight container and seal it properly. Note that the brine solution (the watery mixture in the can) should not be discarded, rather poured into the container along with the contents of the can. 

Airtight containers made of glass are ideal, but you can also use plastic containers for this purpose. When canned food has been successfully transferred into such a container, it is best to now put it in the refrigerator. 

How long does canned food take to go bad

If unopened, can food is usually best for at least 6 months before it goes bad. The best way to find out is to read the “best by” date mentioned on the container. Depending on the concentration of brine and the processing, canned fruit can also last upto 18 months. 

Opened canned food usually takes 5-7 days before it goes bad. Acidic foods usually last longer than other food items like meat and poultry that last for 3-5 days. 

In case of fruits, you can store them for upto 6 months if sealed properly in airtight containers. Freezing does wonders for canned fruits!

Can you freeze canned food?

Technically, yes. You can freeze canned food but it is not generally recommended. Canning is a technique used to prolong the shelf life of food. Similarly, freezing is used to prolong the shelf life as well. Using these two techniques on the same food item will just affect the flavour and texture. However, if you do freeze it, proper thawing and storage conditions must be kept in mind before doing so.

Moreover, freezing the canned food in the same container is not the best way to go. Always change the container before putting it in the freezer or the refrigerator.

You can read more about freezing canned food here

How to tell if canned food is bad or spoiled?

Canned food mostly contains a brine mixture as preservative. This mixture helps the manufacturer in prolonging the shelf life of the food product. Additionally canned food also has some head space. Head space is the empty space between the lid and the juice to prevent the can from bursting when it is being distributed and transported. 

Look for holes/rust. 

If your canned food has some holes or rust on the inner side when you open the lid, it means that the quality of the food product has been compromised. Consuming such a food may negatively affect your health and you should toss it in the bin or return it to the shop owner if freshly bought. 

Mold growth

Because of the high moisture content inside the can, there are greater chances of mould and bacteria to grow. If you see any visible growth besides the food product, you should immediately discard the can. Visible growth means either the can was punctured or that you let it out in the open for too long after opening. 

Shrunken or inflated can

If the can is inflated or shrunken, it means that the integrity of the can was damaged during the handling or the distribution process. This affects the shelf life of the food product inside the can, and your product may expire even before the said “best by” date. You should not purchase a can that looks overly bloated or shrunken.

Improper sealing

Another common mistake is improper sealing. Note that the seal is where the lid of the can is present. An improper seal could be due to a malfunction in the machine that sealed it or due to poor handling practices during distribution. Remember that the seal is the weakest point of the can because it is supposed to be opened. If you notice the integrity of the seal compromised in any way, chances are that your food product is already spoiled, or will spoil before its “best by” date.

Conclusion

In this brief guide we have addressed the question, “How to store canned food after opening?” as well as other questions pertaining to the subject at hand like how long does canned food take to go bad. Moreover, we also discussed the shelf life of canned food before and after opening it.

References

https://www.respectfood.com/article/how-to-store-tinned-and-canned-goods-once-theyve-been-opened/#:~:text=Keep%20the%20liquid%20and%20brine,maintaining%20its%20taste%20and%20texture.

https://www.respectfood.com/article/canned-food-how-long-does-it-last-before-and-after-opening/

https://www.yummy.ph/lessons/prepping/how-to-store-unfinished-opened-canned-goods-a00261-20191026

https://www.myrecipes.com/how-to/cooking-questions/storing-opened-canned-food

https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/After-you-open-a-can-how-long-can-you-keep-the-food-in-the-refrigerator

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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.

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