shelf life of canned goods : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

What is the shelf life of canned goods such as beans and fruits? Believe it or not, store managers were unable to answer thjs question for me.

-- John Townsend (, July 25, 1998


The normal shelf life can be viewed two ways: 1) how long will the food stay edible and 2) how long will the food hold its nutritional value.

The food may remain edible for years. The nutritional value is good for about 6 months, on average.

There are exceptions. Dinty Moore Beef Stew is said by the manufacturer to hold its nutritional value up to five years.

Your best bet is to buy food packaged by experts in food storage who will state their food is good for five years or longer. One company, FPN, states their foods are good for 8 - 15 years because of the process they use retaining up to 98% of its nutritional value. Write me and I'll send you the URL where you can learn more.

Blessings to you as you prepare.

-Pastor Chris

-- Pastor Chris (, July 25, 1998.

while were at it sugar, pasta.bottle water. Sams has 6 gal for 2.79 will this last for years. does sugar go bad or just get hard. Im a city guy and do not know much about this stuff.

-- Steve M (, July 25, 1998.


Sugar just gets hard, not spoiled. It gets hard when it is in too much humidity. Keep it dry and it will be around a long time. If it gets hard, just break it up.

-- Mary (, July 26, 1998.

I, too, am a city dweller with a question. If stored in an air tight container, will such foods as rice, pasta and beans last indefinately?

-- G. Decker (, July 26, 1998.

G. Decker,

Put a 1/4 lb dry ice in the bottom of a sealable 5 gallon plastic pail that is new, or only been used for food (washed). Pour your grain or beans or whatever on top. Set the lid on top without sealing and let the ice melt. The expanding co2 from the dry ice will displace the oxygen in the pail, which prevents mold, bugs, etc. from growing. Check by dipping a lit match below the edge of the pail - it should go out. Then seal tightly. Beans and other legumes last five years, maybe more. Rice has more oil, so not as long. Wheat lasts a many many years. Be sure to have oil -olive oil in metal cans is best - to supplement this storage. Sprout grains, especially alfalfa, for greater nutrition. Remember grains take a lot of water to cook, so plan your water supply accordingly. Good luck.


-- E. Coli (, July 27, 1998.

Question: My biggest fear is lack of water. What is the best way to store. How long will it store? Where does one obtain a 55 gallon poly drum that factories use for chemicals. etc?

-- Timothy Wolfe (, July 27, 1998.

Storage of water: I went to a Pesi-Cola bottling company and purchased 48 gallon plastic containers that syrup for Pepsi and Mountain Dew came in. I paid $10.00 each for them, but I hear some places sell them for $5.00. With high-pressure water only, rinse them out thoroughly until all evidence of the syrup is gone. Then, using 1 pint of Clorox bleach per container, fill the container with water clear to the top. Put lid on and let it set for about a week or so. This helps eliminate the taste of the syrup that has permeated the container. After one week or so, empty out all the water completely. Rinse again, then add 6 drops of Clorox per gallon of water (288 drops for 48 gallons). Fill with water clear to the top, put lid on, and this water will last for at least 5 years if stored in a cool dark spot.

Regarding canned goods: SPAM has an indefinite shelf life if canns are not dented and leaking. Contadina tomato products have an indefinite shelf life. Most canned goods have a 2-year or more shelf life. Storage is the key. When stored in a cool, dark place, canned goods last even longer than 2 years. I found a source for whole canned chickens, they weight 3 lbs. 2 oz. for $3.48 cents a can, that's a bargain! Bardou

-- Playedbythegame (, July 27, 1998.

P.S. NEVER, EVER, use a container to store water in unless you know what was stored in it and what the product was used for. Bardou

-- Playedbythegame (, July 27, 1998.

Forget purchasing all of your food packaged for decades of storage.

Look at the time frame. If anything will happen, it's 16 month away.

Canned goods(depending on type) will last for years. True, some of the nutritional value is lost over time but not that much. One important exception is canned milk, very short shelf life. Most canned goods will last for 4-7 years. If it has not swelled or the contents molded it is still good. The best storage conditions are a cool dry basement.

Grains can be purchased in the 10-20 year storage container but that stuff is very very expensive. As long as the beans or grain is kept dry and free of rodents it should last for 2-3 years minimum. The dry ice trick will help. Buy 30 gal. metal garbage cans, line with heavy duty garbage bag, place bag of beans in smaller plastic bag, place in garbage can, seal lid with duct tape. Remember folks, pioneer supplies that require no refridgeration.

Also, all canned goods have an expiration date or some type of code on the them. The date is not really an expiration date but a manufactures suggestion of best if used by date. Most canned goods purchased now have a date of "2000" or "00". If a code is present call the manufacture with it and ask. Most companies have a 800 number listed on the product.

I am not saying not to buy any long term storage food but be careful. If Y2K is bad, it's right around the corner, not 10 years from now. You have a known date range. Long term storage food is very very expensive. A little creativity and thought on your part will help your money go a long way. A 25 lbs. nitrogen packed bucket of pinto beans can cost as much as 35-40 dollars. A 25 lbs. bag of beans from a warehouse store goes for about 9 bucks. Oh yea, that used to be 7 dollars, funney how the price on that is going up.

Have fun,


-- j (, July 27, 1998.

Yada is correct! Don't waste your money on the MRE's or any "long-term storage" deydrated food. I'm also hearing that the waiting list is at least 6 months for some of these dehydrated food companies. And maybe your order will be filled and maybe it won't. You do not have 6 months to prepare. I have stored 6 months worth of food in 1 months time. If you have the moola, you better start buying because people are waking up and starting to prepare. It's supply and demand. If you lack funds, but have a charge card with a near zero balance, use it to buy supplys. If you live near a COSTCO, Sams Club, Price Club, Fred Meyer, then you can do it. Odering dehydrated bland tasting food from these companies is a waste of your money. They are like anyone else, out for the buck. One thing to think about, did those crossing the great American west in the 1800's order stuff from some factory to get them through the hard times? NOT!!!! P.S. Above all, water comes first on your survival list. Bardou

-- Playedbythegame (, July 28, 1998.

This is an update. I contacted the local Pepsi bottler. They are having trouble getting rid of the plastic drums and will give me all that I need for free. Good deal!

-- Timothy Wolfe (, July 28, 1998.

J- You mention using garbage cans for storing beans. Is that safe since the can would not be food grade?


-- Susan (, July 28, 1998.

Good, useful info on this thread! I especially like that dry ice trick; I think I'll use that for putting up a couple buckets of flour.

I think food prices are rising, though, because of El Nino. Here, we weren't able to plant until the end of April (instead of the usual mid-March) because of the constant rain & late cold spell. Bread flour in 5lb bags cost $1 last year, now it's $1.59 or more. Bummer. Need to see how much it costs of 25lb bags at Sams.

-- Larry Kollar (, July 28, 1998.

DO NOT USE GARBAGE BAGS TO STORE ANYTHING EDIBLE. Garbage bags are treated with insecticides!! Only use food grade storage bags. I found 2-gallon size zip locks at the grocery store. You can purchase white 5 gallon buckets with lids at Home Base. Simply wash/rinse out and you can store food in these. I also buy the large tins that popcorn comes in at thrift stores. These make good storage containers. Bardou

-- Playedbythegame (, July 28, 1998.

Do not empty the food(beans and rice) from the origial bag into the metal garbage can or the garbage can liner. Keep the item in the orginal bag. This allows one to remove the bags from the container to move it. If you need to bug out you will never move a 30 gallon garbage can full of beans. I will weight about 250 lbs.

Yes I agree about putting food in direct contact with non-food grade plastic liners. However I called the manufacture of the plastic garbage bag liners and they are made of plastic, no pesticides or insectacides. The EPA would have a field day with that one. The plastic bags you carry your food home from the store are the same, plastic, just a slightly different form. Plastic is a petrolum(oil) product. Slightly alter one of the catalyst's in the process and you get rayon, nylon, cheap plastic, good plastic, etc. Read the box.



-- j (, July 28, 1998.

I like O2 absorbers better than the dry ice. They are much easier to handle and you can store THEM for use when you need them. Their use will put a 20% vacuum on the container, where the dry ice won't.

Even if the container can't handle this the resulting gas mixture in the container is only 4% O2, the rest is essentially Nitrogen.

We got ours from Multisorb.

They are sized by a number that represents the mls of O2 they will absorb. We got the 750s

-- Will Huett (, July 28, 1998.

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