Sunday, September 27, 2009

Chain Reaction - The Weakest Link

Was reading something about canned foods and the long shelf-life they have, so decided to check up on various web-sites to find out more. Generally the advice was all tins could be kept for at least 2 years after canning, and often well after the 'best-before' date. One site said that canned food will not be unsafe to eat, even after many years of storage, as long as the tin has not 'blown' or severely been damaged. Small dents are nothing to be concerned about as long as the tin itself has not split. Mention was given of tins being discovered in a ship that had sunk 100 years previously and the contents were still safe to eat. Possibly lost something by way of flavour, but safe none-the-less.

This was read in an old copy of Home and Freezer Digest:
"have discovered a can of salmon hidden away in my cupboard and not sure how long I've kept it - a couple of years at least. Is it still safe to eat?"
The reply being:
"Yes, indeed; as long as the can is undamaged you could carry on storing it for up to 20 years. A cool, dry cupboard will help keep canned food in good condition."

Have always known that canned fish had a 'shelf-life' of at least 6 years after canning, so even though nothing in my larder is more than a couple of years old (more like a couple of months as we used up most of our stocks prior to moving) a reader might find an old can lurking behind closed doors. Here am just saying what I read, and giving no suggestion of keeping canned food than any longer than you feel safe. But as now it has become common practice to throw all foods away when they have reached their b.b.dates, we should remember this is a very wasteful practice for they are still perfectly edible foods (unless signs show they are not) for months after. Anything still edible that is thrown away is the same as throwing money down the drain. The only 'dry goods' that I feel need using as fresh as possible are the dried pulses as the older they are the longer they take to cook, and after a few years of age may not even soften at all. On the other hand rice just about keeps for ever when properly stored.