How long are canned goods good for?

Do canned peas, beans, and other things from a supermarket have an expiration date. There is a number embossed on the can, but it doesn’t look like a date? Are they good indefinitely, as long as the can is not punctured or dented?

They do not have an expiration date. They might carry a code indicating the canning date or lot number, but that’s not intended to be used by the consumer. I have seen manufacturers’ recommendations range from 6 mos. to 24 mos. but I don’t have a cite. I have used canned foods that are older than that.

Just be sure you don’t eat anything from a can that looks like it exploded from the inside (botulism) or has a dent so bad it could break the integrity of the seal.

I should be clearer. Some do have a date that gives some indication of a “best if used by” date, but there is certainly no standard or legal requirement.

If the can is all puffed out with botulism, is it recommended to go ahead and use it to get rid of the wrinkles on my raisins?

So it sounds like 5, 10 or 20 years is out of the question then, huh?

Five years is no problem. Would never even know. Speaking from experience – I was very low on food.

In one of William Poundstone’s “Big Secrets” books, in the chapter discussing Spam, he mentions a can of meat about 100 years old being opened (not Spam) and being found eatable.

So “decades” certainly seems possible. Not that I’d be the first person to try the stuff.

These folks ought to know:

Assuming that it’s been properly canned, stored and the seal unbroken stuff (well at least canned meat) will keep “Indefinitely”.

In a recent trip to my grandmothers house, she had opened a jar of greenbeans that had a date of 1943 on it. I asked her about it and she said, “we’ll, we did can them during the war I think.” Boggles my mind, but she ate them and they looked fine. I have to say, when it come grandma’s time to go, those jars will have a shelf life of about 1 second before I pitch them.

Don’t do that, have a potluck! Make everyone come in uniform, and party like it’s 1943!