Confirmed Food Life - Personal Experience In Long Term Storage

xtry51

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I'm starting this thread to get some people's actual experience with keeping store bought foods long term and actually using them to confirm good/bad. I'm always searching around for real life examples rather than anecdotal evidence and it seems hard to come by.

I'd like to keep this solely to prepackaged foods and not bulk personal mylar/bucket or home canned goods. Please post pictures if possible. Hopefully people can contribute and his will help others who are starting out decide where to start and what to expect. I'll post here as we cycle through our stores. Hopefully others with well established pantries will join in. If it takes off I'll ask the mods to make it a sticky.

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The FDA requires certain types of dates on certain products. Like many things the government does it is seemingly without rhyme or reason. Both "Sell By" and "Use By" dated goods must be removed from the market by retailers once the date expires. Not doing so can result is seizure and prosecution by the FDA. The FDA and food laws are very much like gun laws in that they are seemingly randomly enforced and redefined at the whim of the issuing agency. If you'd like to raise your blood pressure and waste a few hours/days/years of your life pleas go ahead and visit the FDA at http://www.fda.gov/Food/default.htm. Below I paraphrase what the basic premises are of each type.

Dates On Food Abridged:

Sell By: Required by FDA. This date tells the store how long to keep the item on their shelves. If it reaches the date before its sold, the store will pull it from the shelves. It represents the last day the food is at its peak quality of freshness, taste, and consistency. It will still be safe to eat after the Sell By Date. Milk is a typical example.

Best If Used By: Required by FDA. This merely refers to when the quality of the item starts to go downhill in taste as defined by the manufacturer. Generally, you may notice a difference in taste or consistency after that date, but it will still be safe to eat. Typically these foods are good far beyond the date. Cereal is a common example.

Use By: Required by FDA. The Use By date is when the product loses its peak quality and declines "rapidly" afterwards. It's still safe to eat for a little while, there is no FDA or other "official" established period of time for "how long" after they are good for, but stores may not sell them after this date. Sour Cream and cream cheese are typical examples.

Date Only, no words before or after: No date required by FDA. Manufacturer's recommended date, basically the same as "Best If Used By" date.

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I'll start out with what prompted this, a jar of peanut butter I just pulled out of our storage.

Big Y 4lb creamy peanut butter. Purchased March 2010. Date Only for Feb 26 2011. Opened today August 12, 2012. Very little oil separation < 1/2 tsp at top. Consistency normal and flavor has no noticeable change from a new jar. Flavor tested and confirmed on sandwiches by two fairly normal adults and two picky children.
 
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I recently opened a can of whole tomatoes that was 5 years past it's expiration date. I couldn't tell you when I bought them, but they looked and tasted just fine. I believe they were Hunts brand.
 

MisterHappy

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Some foods are more chemically active, like tomatoes, which are very acidic; even though the inside of the can is coated, it can still be attacked.


It's cheaper for food companies to take back expired stuff than defend against a "food poisoning" lawsuit.


The longest duration I had was WWII-era cheese and crakers, and IIRC Fruit Cake, gen-u-wine Army C-rats....about 1978.

My dad said that they tasted the same as back when they were fresh. [laugh]
 

xtry51

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Cains All Natural Mayonnaise 30oz. Purchased August 2010. Best By Date March 4, 2011. Opened today, August 13, 2012. Still good, vinegar sharpened a smidge.

 

warwickben

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Cake mix and frosting will go bad. My mom didn't look at the date, when she made my birth day cake ... I came home late and every one started eating my cake.......
I sat down and every one was half way done with there's and started saying dose it taste off....
5 years out of use by.
Every one but me got sick lol.

I'd be careful with cans. Then again I did suffer 1 week in icu for botchalizim (sorry I suck at Spelling) so I biased...
Caned sliced tomatoes on a burger from samards in Wilmington .. I was sick with in 30-45 mins . The. Again most peoe I know get sick from there unless its around midnight lol.
 

Madball13

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Caned sliced tomatoes on a burger from samards in Wilmington .. I was sick with in 30-45 mins . The. Again most peoe I know get sick from there unless its around midnight lol.
I hate tomatoes and used to roll into Simards around 1:30 and get a roast beef with everything except tomatoes. I miss that place.
 

drgrant

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Milk seems like "the pin comes out on the grenade" by the time you hit the sell by date. Maybe a day longer. It always seems to go to pure shit within 2 or 3 days or so of that date. Milk with lower fat content seems worse and more sensitive to the date.

-Mike
 

EC1

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Milk seems like "the pin comes out on the grenade" by the time you hit the sell by date. Maybe a day longer. It always seems to go to pure shit within 2 or 3 days or so of that date. Milk with lower fat content seems worse and more sensitive to the date.

-Mike
For longer term storage of milk either powdered or UHT milk are the alternatives. 4 months or longer for the UHT milk unopened, indefinite for the powdered.
 

ARV

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http://www.armour-star.com/faq.asp

How long do your canned products last?
Canned products are safe to use indefinitely as long as the seal is intact and can is not bulged. However, we recommend using product within three years of the manufacturing date. This will ensure the best flavor of the product. Although the products are good indefinitely the flavor gradually deteriorates over time.
 

Hiltonizer

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recently opened ketchup and peanut butter 1.5 years past date. Both were fine.

canned mixed fruit got a little gross about when I tried it a year past date.
dole chunked pineapple was good as new however 3 years past date, however can ring started showing rust.

date on snows clam chowder is serious as a heart attack

the "Bush's Best" baked beans Sams Club sells by the case taste like dog food no matter when you eat it, softer dog food past date. Stick to Market Basket Boston Recipe or B+M

all items were stored in my basement which maintains 50-65 degrees
 
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NHAtHeart

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There are folks here that can and some that may be thinking of it - please share your experiences.
Pickles made it a year then got mushy, still taste good but no texture left. Chicken 2.5+ years still as good as the day it was canned, same with beef and ham. Beans turn color if you have iron in your water but still taste fine just look ugly. Strawberry/blueberry jams are good at 2+ years no issues at all. Cornbeef hash good at 1.5 years, no loss of flavor or texture.
 

xtry51

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recently opened ketchup and peanut butter 1.5 years past date. Both were fine.

canned mixed fruit got a little gross about when I tried it a year past date.
dole chunked pineapple was good as new however 3 years past date, however can ring started showing rust.

date on snows clam chowder is serious as a heart attack

the "Bush's Best" baked beans Sams Club sells by the case taste like dog food no matter when you eat it, softer dog food past date. Stick to Market Basket Boston Recipe or B+M

all items were stored in my basement which maintains 50-65 degrees
Good to know about the fruit as I have some about a year old stored. I'll check on the, this winter and post up how they are. I'll make a point to store more pineapple. Thank you.
 

garandman

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//The longest duration I had was WWII-era cheese and crakers, and IIRC Fruit Cake, gen-u-wine Army C-rats....about 1978.

My dad said that they tasted the same as back when they were fresh. [laugh]
We found some 1944 dated C-Rats (after 1958 they were officially "MCI - Meal, Combat Individual) and tried them - in 1981. As your dad stated, the oldest GI present enlisted in '67 and he said the same thing.

Natick Labs does all this development, bet you could call in there and find a food scientist to give you the scoop.
 

MisterHappy

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My dad had other army food stories. The "best?" one was that shortly after his enlistment in 1942, their unit (which formed up here) went down south to complete its compliment. They got hams that were wrapped in tar paper, and dated 1918.

Guess the c-rats were a good deal, after all!

[laugh]
 

Twigg

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There are folks here that can and some that may be thinking of it - please share your experiences.
I'll be posting another Adventures In Canning thread discussing some of the meats we have pressure canned over the past year or so.

Post will include lotsa pictures and descriptions of taste / texture.
I have set aside at least one jar of everything we have canned so some items will have sat on a shelf for about a year.

Unrefrigerated. [shocked] [smile] [wink]
 

Madball13

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I had a can of progresso soup, beef and potatoes yesterday and it was a year past it's stamped date. It was stores in the basement with mid range humidity and temp never higher than 70. Tasted petty good, no GI problems.
 
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I'm pretty sure Spam lasts eternity... In 1999, I put a can of Spam, some granola bars, hot cocoa mix, a small can of Dinty Moore and a small tupperware container with saltines - along with other items, (ammo first aid kit, compass, map, socks, triox stove, fuel tabs, metal coffee cup, gloves, hat, water bottle, iodine tabs etc) into a 50-cal ammo can. I spray painted the entire can with OD Krylon and put it inside a fallen hollow tree. It remained there until 2007, when I remembered that I had forgotten it. [wink]

I took a deep breath and ate everything. Even the saltines were still crisp. I did cook the stew and the Spam thoroughly. The granola bars were a bit iffy - somewhat soft, but I survived everything - and this stuff was outdoors in all manners of temp extremes.
 
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Remember that flavor and consistency is not all that matters. The proteins and vitamins begin to break down and loose their effectiveness. Yes, you may not get sick, and your belly will be filled, but you won't get the benefit of the food if it is too far gone. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to test that at home.
 
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My dad had other army food stories. The "best?" one was that shortly after his enlistment in 1942, their unit (which formed up here) went down south to complete its compliment. They got hams that were wrapped in tar paper, and dated 1918.

Guess the c-rats were a good deal, after all!

[laugh]
I would eat my belt and shoes before I ate a 24 year old ham.
Funny, my old man always told me the c-rats he ate during Vietnam weren't that bad, especially if you got the ham and potatoes,LOL
 
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Recently ate from a can of frosting that expired in the late 90's, don't recall exact year, suffered no ill effects and it tasted fine until someone noticed the expiration date.
 
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When we began prepping food, we initially purchased vegetable canned goods and regular food stuffs in glass jars or cans. Today we concentrate on our own canning from our large garden and dried foods in large buckets as mentioned above. So, we've begun cycling our 1-2 year out of date canned goods into our normal daily menus. They're all fine with no exceptions. BTW, my wife is a microbiologist and keeps a wary eye open for stuff that might not be good. We did notice that some cans had minor surface rust occuring here and there on the rims. All cans are fine, however, mostly vegetables or soups. We're buying no canned goods for prepping, however, and as we use them up we're replacing them with proper prepper type foodstuffs. Moving large quantities of canned goods would not be easy. Dried foods are much easier to transport if needed. Our home-canned goods are heavy, too, but worth the effort.

On another note, we have some old MRE individual main course envelopes that go back ( I swear) to the early 1990s. We've also got a couple of big service pans of foods, too. They've been kept in our basement pantry (60-75 Degrees year round). Everyonce and a while I'll sample one of them. I just drop the packet into boiling water and let it heat through. They've been just fine all these years. I would not want to rely on them but I'm amazed that they would remain edible and actually still look and smell fine.

Rome
 

Hiltonizer

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just had a sandwich the other day with some marshmallow fluff that was a year past date... tasted fine... just a little gritty as a result of some texture change and drying.
 

Twigg

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Yesterday's lunch:

Sloppy Joe's / Manwhich




Almost three years past the "best by" date and it was fine.
Keep your cans dry and they'll last almost forever.
 
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