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All you need to know about canned foods All you need to know about canned foods

All you need to know about canned foods

Canned foods are very convenient since they make most fruits and vegetables available all year long. And, they’re so easily accessible. You’ll find them on supermarket shelves in every store. But, when buying them, remember to check the expiry date and ensure that the cans don’t look dusty or have torn labels, because that might indicate old stock. At home, practice the rule, first in, first out; this means you should use the oldest products first. The simple way to do this is by placing the newly purchased cans behind the same products you already have. 

How long do canned foods remain edible?

Canned foods have a long shelf life, but that shouldn’t mean that you keep them for several years before using them. High-acid canned foods such as juices, tomatoes, fruits and pickles will store well for 12 to 18 months. Whereas low-acid canned foods such as meat products and vegetables will store well for 2-4 years. However, there may be some changes in quality, such as a change in colour and texture.

Where should you store canned foods?

A dry place with a moderately cool temperature is best to store canned foods. Make sure that you don’t store them in a warm place near the oven or in direct sunlight. They should be kept dry and cool to prevent the can itself from rusting, which may cause leaks and eventually spoil the food inside.

Can canned food be heated in its container?

It is not a recommended practice, but if it is necessary to heat canned food in the container, the top lid must be removed to prevent pressure build-up. The opened can may be covered loosely with a piece of aluminum foil, then placed in hot water and simmered. Never put a can in the microwave.

What should you do if the can looks damaged?

Look closely at all cans before opening them. A bulging lid, or a dented or leaking can is a sign of spoilage. When you open it, look for other signs, such as spurting liquid, an ‘off’ odour or mould. Don’t taste or use canned foods that show any sign of spoilage. Throw them away immediately; they are not at all for consumption.

How should you store canned food products once opened?

Once a can is opened, it becomes perishable and thus, should be either cooked properly or refrigerated. To preserve its flavour, opened canned foods should be transferred to plastic or glass containers before refrigerating. Leftovers should be consumed after 3 to 4 days of refrigeration.

Is it normal to hear a "hiss" when opening a can?

A general rule is to wash the top of the cans before opening them. Some cans may hiss because they are vacuum-packed and the noise is a result of air pressure, which is perfectly normal. However, if a can hisses loudly or spurts when opened, it may be an indication that the food is spoiled and should be discarded. Always clean the can opener after usage.

Good to Remember:

If you are sensitive to salt, you need to remember that some canned foods are high in salt, either to enhance the flavour or as a method of preservation.

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