What Is The Shelf Life of Canned Food

Just because you took a lot of time canning the food, doesn’t mean you should keep it forever.  It’s kinda like that paper that you wrote in high school about geography in Eastern Europe.  It was relevant for a heartbeat then it was time to update.


Canned food is food that is canned or bottled in liquid.  This does not include dry foods like  beans, and sugar, or dehydrated or freeze-dried foods.  These dry foods usually have a much longer shelf life, and some will never expire.


If you look at the date on a can from a grocery store, you will see it says “best by”, not “expiration” date.  In other words, the food inside the cans can stay good for quite some time, BUT if you want best flavor, consume that food within the specified time frame.  Unless the food has lost it’s color, or smells funny, it’s probably ok to eat.

Check this chart to determine the suggested Shelf Life of Canned Food


If the food inside the jar has changed its color, it is no longer good to eat even if it is within the suggested shelf life.  Also, an off smell, is another indication that you should not eat that food.


Canning is a great way to preserve the food you grow, but make sure you take care of it, store it correctly and you will enjoy yummy food for many months to come.




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