Friday, September 6, 2013

How Long Does Home Canned Food Last?

Many people new to canning wonder how long the home canned food lasts.  The answer depends on a lot of things but most especially on how the jars are stored.
This is a half pint of carrots I used today in a pot of chicken & rice soup.  They have been stored out of the light which can deteriorate foods at a faster rate.  They have not been stored at an even temperature however, that can vary from 60 degrees to 85 degrees depending on the season because I don't run the a/c if I am not home.  If kept at 70 degrees in a dry and dark environment, I have no doubt these carrots would still be tasty and hardly discolored after 15 or more years, though there would probably be some loss of nutrients.

So how old is this jar?
Just over 5 years.  And they look and taste the same as the day I canned them.
Last week I used a jar of turkey that was 4 years old and it was perfectly fine and tasty and the cats will vouch that the broth it was canned in was tasty too.

My oldest jars are from 1998 when I was given a glut of pears.  There are only a couple jars left and the pears have turned a bit brown but taste just fine and their texture is still semi firm.

So if you can food properly and store it as best as is possible, it has a very long shelf life, longer than it would take most folks to eat it all up.  

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