Non-perishable foods like canned goods can be lifesavers when you're too busy to prepare beans, boil a pumpkin, or buy fresh produce.
But in reality, how long can food be stored in a pantry? Could you disregard the expiration date?
The quick answer is that it is variable; nonetheless, the method by which canned foods are prepared allows them to maintain their freshness for an extended period
Both yes and no. "The product should still be safe and healthy if handled correctly until spoilage is evident," says the USDA.
If you open a can of food that has passed its sell-by date and find that it still tastes and smells OK, you can safely assume that it is still good to eat.
High-acid canned goods like tomatoes, fruits, and pickles hold their maximum quality for 12 to 18 months. Low-acid canned meats and veggies last 2 to 5 years.
Fruits (peaches, pears, apple pie filling): 12–18 months
Tomato products: 12–18 months
Pickled vegetables: 12–18 months
Sauerkraut: 2–5 years
Vegetables (peas, corn, green beans): 2–5 years
Beans (black, kidney, pinto, garbanzo): 2–5 years
Soups (non-tomato-based): 2–5 years
Meats (ham, tuna, sausage): 2–5 years
Can food be stored for 20 years? According to the USDA, the majority of shelf-stable goods are safe permanently. But you'll want to do the sight and smell test.