Canned foods are excellent alternatives to eating frozen or fresh foods provided that you pay close attention to food storage times for canned goods. In regard to canned goods, this article addresses goods that you can yourself rather than food storage times associated with canned foods you get from a market place. Foods in a marketplace are usually marked with an expiration date on the product, so that you can readily track the freshness of the product. In contrast, when you are canning foods yourself, food storage times and tracking are very important. Keeping track of food storage times will ensure that you are always using a fresh canned product. There are certain steps you need to take during the canning process to help you accurately track food storage times.
First Step: Proper Storage
If you do not store your canned goods in the right containers, the food storage times will matter little since the foods will not remain fresh inside the jars you can them in. You need to use mason jars with the appropriate sized lids and rings in order to can your food correctly. You can, if you have the skill and knowledge, use metal cans for storing food as well, but the most common method of canning is done through the use of mason jars. If you do not use the right lids with seals and rings, you can wind up getting food poisoning via exposure to Clostridium botulinum bacteria.
Second Step: Label Your Canned Goods
When you label your canned goods, you can easily keep track of food storage times. You should put on the label what the goods are and the date that you canned them. Put the month and the year on the label with a permanent marker, so that the information does not wear off during food storage. You will also need to make sure that you store the canned goods in the right area: if you store your canned goods in the wrong type of storage space, it can considerably affect the quality of the food. All canned goods must be placed in a dark space away from pipes or furnaces that might alter the temperature of the goods.
Third Step: Food Storage Times and Tracking
You may want to keep a notebook where you can write down the foods you have canned and on what dates you canned them. Generally, the canned goods have food storage times equaling one year and should be used within the year’s time period, but some foods that contain high amounts of acid may expire sooner. When you open the canned goods, there are few things you can do to assess the product’s freshness. If the canned goods have become brown in color or have darkened, this is due to a chemical breakdown of the food’s pigmentation, but the foods are still safe for consumption. Smell the food when it is opened to ensure that it smells okay, and if the food smells fine, sample the product for flavor. You can also boil the foods for a period of 10 minutes before tasting to destroy any potential bacteria that might have formed during the canning process. After the can is opened, it can last a few days to a week’s time, so it should be used quickly to avoid waste.
Utah State University Cooperative Extension for information on canning foods at:
RecipeTips.com for information on canning goods and food storage at: