Can I eat this - home canning edition
December 2, 2018 1:20 PM   Subscribe

This is my first food safety question - some kind of rite of passage! Anyway. I made a batch of excellent applesauce about three and a half years ago, using a certified safe recipe and canned and processed properly. (Please assume this is true, I’m from a family that is vigilant about canning things safely.) One jar of it ended up forgotten behind things and I just found it today. It’s been stored in a cool dark place, the seal is intact and it looks normal. Can I bring this to a latke party tonight or is it too old?
posted by centrifugal to Food & Drink (10 answers total)
 
I have eaten home-canned things of that vintage and everything was absolutely fine and tasty. But I wouldn't assume, wouldn't serve to friends without checking - open the jar now, smell, taste, and then prep it to bring along.
posted by aimedwander at 1:23 PM on December 2 [13 favorites]


Yes, as long as the seal is intact and the jar was stored properly (without the ring on it and with nothing resting on top of the lid, as these can cause the lid to reseal even if the seal failed in storage). Eating canned food within a year to 18 months (depending on your lid type) is more about quality (flavor, color, etc) than safety, when the seal is not compromised.
posted by topophilia at 1:30 PM on December 2 [3 favorites]


I've eaten home-canned fruit that was probably a decade old. It was great. It was canned by my mother, who was as vigilant about canning safety as it sounds like you are.

(She probably wouldn't have approved of me eating it, being more vigilant about these things than me.)
posted by clawsoon at 3:05 PM on December 2 [4 favorites]


"Can I bring this to a latke party tonight or is it too old?"

I'm sure it's safe, but, if I were in your position, I would not ever serve it to others without first trying it myself at least a few days in advance.
posted by ferdydurke at 3:44 PM on December 2 [8 favorites]


Yeah, eat it yourself, but dont serve it too anyone else without testing it.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 4:31 PM on December 2 [1 favorite]


I am on team eat it myself and not share. Both for safety and for gluttony.
posted by bilabial at 4:59 PM on December 2 [2 favorites]


I would consider it safe, but the taste might be bland- so I would want to try it before serving to others. Fresh chunky applesauce is pretty easy to make and smells great on the stove- if it’s that kind of party, I might bring a pot of prepped raw apples and cook them up when I get there.
posted by Secretariat at 7:13 PM on December 2


Not only is it completely fine, but if you simmer it for three minutes you will have neutralized any possible toxins that could be in there.
posted by slkinsey at 7:32 PM on December 2 [2 favorites]


I would totally eat it myself, and have eaten preserves older than that, made by myself and by my mother.
I agree with the comment about it possibly tasting bland.
I might bring it, but only after boiling it at home, for a few minutes as slkinsey recommended, this way you will be able to see smell and taste it, and can possibly add some lemon juice for taste. But i think if your preserves are labeled with a date you may not want to bring it to avoid spooking people. I would however eat it myself.
posted by 15L06 at 9:49 PM on December 2


Not only is it completely fine, but if you simmer it for three minutes you will have neutralized any possible toxins that could be in there.

I agree that, given proper canning practices, it is still fine. It might not be quite as tasty as it once was (but might still be better than store-bought applesauce). However, the widespread idea that reheating food will destroy bacterial toxins is dangerously incorrect. Some toxins will break down, yes, but others, such as the toxins produced by Staphylococcus aureus, are not reliably destroyed by boiling.
posted by musicinmybrain at 10:52 PM on December 2 [14 favorites]


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