Canned food shelf life.

Discussion in 'Cookery' started by SKJOLD, Nov 8, 2011.

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  1. Saw Ray Mears " The real Telemark heroes " the other day. During which they opened up a can of something from one one of the ration drops. Apparently it tasted just as good now as it did then, with no ill effects.

    So the question being, could the same be expected from modern canning and preserving methods? Even though the longest shelf life I could find on some things this evening was till 2016. Is it possible

  2. Good question, I know they used to inspect/test ration packs near their use by date and then prolong their use!

    I would suspect something that has a 5 year shelf life would not kill you if you ate it at the 6 year point!
  3. It may be like use by dates on bottled water, more to do with the deterioration of the container rather than the contents.
  4. To my knowledge, the contents of a can are OK, until the can “blows” i.e. the ends of the can become convex - as opposed to the normal (on-the-supermarket-shelf), depressed or concave position.

    The change in shape - indicating an expansion of the contents - would indicate that some form of (chemical?) reaction has occurred inside the can.
  5. Thats the last time i throw OOD cans in the bin!
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  6. Called a 'Blown Can.' More usually filled with bacterium toxins swelling the space up, very often the lovely clostridium botulinum.

    Good luck Count.
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  7. Thanks but i meant that I would not throw OOD cans until they became convex and indeed after a quick sniff test!
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  8. I vaguely remember back in the '70s that a can of Fray Bentos corned beef canned around 1915 was unearthed, if that's the right word. On opening, it was found to be in perfect condition.
  9. Depends on the external conditions like heat and humidity. Also I find dry contents much more likely to remain usable.
    I opened a Pacific 24hr pack from 1945. I smoked the fags!
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  10. LancePrivateJones

    LancePrivateJones LE Book Reviewer

    Back in about 2007 I acquired a large tin of Cheese Possessed dated 1965.

    Apart from stinking the house out and having a bite like a Rottweiler it was perfectly OK.

    If anyone has some of the same vintage I shall gladly dispose of it for you.
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  11. HHH

    HHH LE

  12. I've still got a small tin of cheese possessed in my Dad's loft. Can't remember what the marked date is, but it was issued circa 1979. The can has taken on a highly pressurised shape so there's no chance that I'll even open it, let alone consider consuming the contents.

    But I'll leave it there. You never know, it might be worth something one day...
  13. In about 1984 We had rations on exercise Germany, on the tin it said some thing like re-canned 1968. This obviously made it old but I always wondered how old it was already before being re-canned.
  14. LancePrivateJones

    LancePrivateJones LE Book Reviewer

    My tin was also somewhat distended and the stink that came out when it was pierced was something else. Under instructions from the wife and brats it had to be triple wrapped in plastic bags and a bin liner before I was allowed to stick it in the fridge.

    The taste was frighteningly strong and the family was so disgusted that I got the lot to myself which was nice.
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  15. Back in the mid 60's over on my side of the pond I was eating my Uncle Sam's "C" rations packed in 1943-1945. Nothing made anyone sick.

    The franks and beans were great, ham and lima beans tasted OK given that they taste not great when new.
    The scrambled eggs and ham had turned a bit greenish but edible and no one got sick. The canned jam was great but some of the processed cheese spread had gone off. Canned biscuits were fine and the cake of compressed cocoa that made a pint of cocoa was the best tasting cocoa I have ever tasted.

    It was odd though eating scrambled eggs and knowing the chicken that laid the egg had died of old age before i was born.

    I do recall reading some years ago that someone had found a canned fruitcake that HM the Queen had sent to each soldier serving in the Boer and the fruitcake was fine to eat. Apparently many soldiers saved the fruitcake as it was Christmas a present from the Queen.