How to store preserved foods once you open them?

In this brief guide we will answer the question, “how to store preserved foods once you open them?” as well as other questions pertaining to the subject at hand like should you freeze preserved foods and how much time do preserved foods take before going bad.

How to store preserved foods once you open them? 

As easy as it seems, storing preserved foods after opening is not an easy task. You need to take into consideration the type of container they were in, their state, the expiry or best by date, and the nature of the food product under consideration. 

Let us look into some of the types of preservation and discuss them one by one.

Frozen foods

The most common type of frozen food is meat and meat products. Taking care of such food products requires delicacy and care. This is because you need to thaw them properly before you can utilize them in your recipe. This increases the risk of contamination because during thawing, the temperature can get favourable for the growth of microorganisms. 

The best practice to store frozen foods is to divide them immediately into smaller portions after opening. Do not thaw the whole food product, rather thaw only the portion that you are willing to utilize. If by chance, there are some leftovers, wash them properly and be sure to remove excess water before putting them back in the freezer.

Try not to use the same container for storing them again, because it usually gets damaged or contaminated while handling. Instead, use a different bowl or clean, reusable freezing bags to put it back in the freezer. 

Dried foods

Dried foods are the most shelf stable when it comes to preservation techniques. This is because the moisture content is reduced to a much smaller level than which is favourable for the growth of microorganisms. 

Microorganisms grow most in moist and damp conditions, with water eliminated, your food has now a lot chances of going bad or getting spoiled. 

Dried foods usually come in proper glass or plastic containers with airtight lids. You do not necessarily need to change their container if you handle them properly and seal them back every time you consume them or use them in a recipe.

A key concern with dry foods is the addition of moisture. Since the food is already dried, it will definitely absorb moisture from its surroundings. Therefore, storing them in a cool, dry place is of the essence. Because they are so short of water, they can even absorb moisture from the surrounding air, this is why they need to be kept in properly sealed airtight containers.

You also need to keep in mind that wet hands are not the way to go while handling dried foods. Any moisture can potentially damage the contents of the container in which your dried food is present.

Canned foods 

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. 

Should you freeze preserved foods?

Not necessarily. Not all preserved foods need to be frozen. It depends on how they originally came. You can freeze canned food however. But you still need to be cautious as to eliminate the preservative that already surrounds your food – brine.

How much time do preserved foods take before going bad?

The best way to tell this is by reading the “best by” or the “best before” date on the label. This date is a rough estimate by the manufacturer and does not mean that the product will immediately spoil after this date. Preserved foods usually last a week or sometimes a month past their expiry date. 

Once you have opened and stored them again, they will not last for more than a week in the refrigerator. This is the general rule of thumb for storing items in the refrigerator. 

Similarly, when it comes to frozen food, it can maintain top quality for as long as 6 months. 


In this brief guide we have answered the question, “how to store preserved foods once you open them?” as well as other questions pertaining to the subject at hand like should you freeze preserved foods and how much time do preserved foods take before going bad.


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