Food storage tips & hints
Once opened, many of the dates become obsolete since the contents now become perishable. It is advisable to use products as quickly as possible after opening.
Be sure to refrigerate leftovers in a covered container (not a can) and use within 3 to 5 days.
Some canned goods (such as condiments and pickled items) will still retain some longevity if refrigerated. Most condiments will have a warning to refrigerate after opening if necessary, so check the packaging carefully.
When buying foods, always check the expiration date. Select the date farthest in the future for optimum shelf-life.
Fresher packages may be at the rear or buried. Depending on how quickly you will be using an item, it may be worth digging out the newer product, but be sure to re-stack for the grocer.
Take a tip from grocers and rotate your stock at home. Rather than trying to decipher cryptic codes on cans, use a marker to write the purchase date on cans and packaged foods to help you judge the age.
Regardless of the expiration date, do not take a chance on cans that are bulging or oozing from the seam. Dented cans should also be avoided.
Many baking mixes contain dehydrated fats which can become rancid with time or leaveners that may lose their potency. Check the date.
Optimum storage temperature for canned goods is 65 degrees F. Higher storage temperatures can reduce shelf-life by up to 50 percent.
Most canned goods can be stored up to 1 year under optimum temperature. Citrus fruits, fruit juices, pickles, peppers, sauerkraut, green beans, asparagus, beets, and all tomato products should be used within 6 months. If summer heat brings your kitchen temperature to 75 degrees F. or above, even for a short time period, cut those storage times in half.
Canned foods should never be frozen. The expansion can split the seams of the can or break the glass container.
In general, foods canned in glass have a longer shelf-life. However, they must be stored in the dark since light can accelerate some natural chemical reactions.
Examine cellophane, plastic, and box packages to be sure they are not punctured or torn. Once the seal is penetrated, the integrity of the contents is compromised.
Get your food home quickly from the store and into proper storage.
The bottom line: Trust your eyes and nose. If it looks bad and/or smells bad, toss it out.
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