Quick question about strawberry jam and canned soup...

All jars I’ve seen say to keep refrigerated after opening. I had to take a jar I had at work home because of fridge-cleaning, then promptly forgot about it. It was in my backpack for almost 10 hours.

The weather isn’t that warm, though, but is there any reason why it might not be still good? I’d hate to toss it. (I know that if I’m in doubt, I’m supposed to toss it, but if I did that for everything, I’d have a lot less food. :))

Actually, now that I think about it, while cleaning out my cupboards, I found some canned soup that I’d forgotten about (it having hidden itself), which I know is literally years old (by the brand and packaging). How long does that stuff last anyway? There’s no expiration date, and it’s not bulging (not that I’m going to eat it at this point anyway; the thought of eating years-old soup is gross enough on its own–I was just curious).

Thanks in advance. :slight_smile:

The time it takes for bacteria to grow in jam is going to vary a lot. Assuming it was cold to start with, it would remain that way in your backpack for some amount of time. After that, it’s going to depend on how much bacteria was in the jar already and how the jam affects the growth rate of the bacteria. So you might be fine after 10 hours in your backpack. But refrigeration doesn’t halt bacterial growth, it retards it. If the jam was opened and exposed to enough bacteria, it might have been close to the point where it should have been tossed before it became warm. That’s why you toss it if you’re unsure.

Canned products vary. Some of them have an indefinite shelf life if unopened. The manufacturer recommendations for how long to keep them are based not only on food safety, but also on the quality of the food.

If you are in doubt, and if you have a younger brother, have him try it first.

If it matters, I first opened the jar on Thursday, which is a big reason why I’m a little reluctant to toss it now, since I only got four helpings out of it. :stuck_out_tongue:

The reason for jam in the first place - previously known as a “preserve” because it preserved the fruit - was that the sugar content is so high that it bursts any bacteria that get into it by osmosis.

Certainly many families in the UK used to keep opened jam in the pantry rather than the fridge for months at a time - it’s what I grew up with. After a few months you may get some fermentation or a little mold (which my mother would scrape off without telling us) but it’s unlikely to be harmful.

Ten hours, with the lid on, at room temperature - your jam will be fine.

Seconding jjimm. Jam was the method that people used to preserve fruit before fridges were invented. A few hours or even days, or even maybe weeks out of the fridge is fine.

Chances are the soup is fine too, unless the can is bulging (from fermentation) or leaking. Again, the whole point of canning is to preserve stuff, in this case by sealing it tight and then heating it enough to kill off any bugs.

Put it back in the refrigerator and consume it as normal. When strawberry jam goes bad you will know it because it will have mold. If it smells or tastes at all moldy, then you need to chuck it, but mold won’t kill you, it just tastes really bad.

I’ve found canned goods years old. Used to be I’d never pay attention to the dates stamped on the cans (if there were any at all) but now somehow I’m leery. I toss them. Can’t give them to the food pantry because they check the dates and can’t accept expired goods.

And here I was thinking this thread would be about a recipe which uses both strawberry jam and canned soup.

This year I ate a can of soup expired in 2009. It was very metallic in flavor and just seemed “off.” (To be fair, I didn’t check the date before I made it.)
Campbell has had expiration dates for at least 20 years. I wouldn’t go near that can!

They’ve been using expiry dates for 20 years? Or the dates indicate the product expires in 20 years? :smiley:

<whisper> I’ve been know to have toast & jam as a snack before bed.

I get busted the next morning when my wife finds the open jar on the counter. Once again I forgot to put it back in the fridge.

A few hours out of the fridge won’t hurt jelly or jam.

The OP said there was no expiry date on the can and since Campbells has been using them for 20 years the assumption made was that the can is more than 2 decades old.

I’m pretty laid back about expiry dates, particularly on stuff that hasn’t been opened yet. The salad dressing that expires in 3 months when opened in the fridge isn’t going to deteriorate at the same rate stored unopened in a cool dark cupboard. I tend to rely more on scent and taste rather than the date stamped on the bottle although I do use those as a backup when I’m unsure.

Both my parents worked for General Foods which was eventually purchased by Kraft and I spent many years safely eating “expired” items since they would stock up at the semi annual employee store.

Ah. I didn’t read it closely enough.

I actually never said it was Campbell’s (it’s Progressive, IIRC). So I know that the soup’s less than 2 decades old; I haven’t even lived in this apartment that long! :slight_smile:

Anyway, thanks for the info; I get the impression that if the jam is bad, it’ll be clear (i.e. it won’t seem fine, then sneak up on me later), which is a good thing. (And that it may not be affected, which is even better.) Still probably not gonna eat the soup, but I was still curious, so thanks for that too! :slight_smile: