Expired canned Dulce de Leche
April 12, 2020 7:22 PM   Subscribe

I discovered some cans of La Lechera Dulce de Leche at the back of my pantry. Yum! However, the bottom of the can says Best Before Sept 2016. Still edible or certain death in a can?

I was thinking of using them in 7 layer bars, which are baked, in case that reduces the risk. I feel like canned goods + sugary content means its probably fine, but 4 years is a long time!
posted by Joh to Food & Drink (12 answers total)
I think you will know as soon as you open it, if the can isn't swollen or dented, if it's okay. It might not be at its dulcest, but if the can pressure is normal and the color/texture is reasonable and you're going to cook it...I'd risk it.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:42 PM on April 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

I literally made Krusteaz corn muffin mix this week that expired in 2012. It was fine, if not super flavorful.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:45 PM on April 12, 2020

if it's curdled, super dark, or stinky, toss it. Otherwise, I personally would go for it.
posted by DSime at 7:47 PM on April 12, 2020

As long as the can is intact, it is not likely to harm you. The quality may be impaired, could have an off flavor. Open it and see.
posted by theora55 at 7:51 PM on April 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

A while back, I had some factory-sealed dulce de leche cookies that were several months past their expiration date. I assumed they would be fine and bit into one of them unconcerned. The dulce de leche tasted rancid and disgusting; I spit it out and spent several minutes rinsing the taste from my mouth. So consider this a vote for caution; don't just throw a bunch into your recipe without making sure it's still good. (That said, if it smells and tastes fine, I still might use it.)
posted by Syllepsis at 8:00 PM on April 12, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: As someone who very happily ate 20+ year old condensed milk, I'd say go for it.
posted by zamboni at 8:12 PM on April 12, 2020 [8 favorites]

Taste it first. I've had condensed milk taste quite sour and off before.
posted by slightlybewildered at 8:16 PM on April 12, 2020

People, for the sake of "recreation" and YouTube clicks, routinely seek out ludicrously aged military rations and eat them on camera.

Go for it.
posted by aramaic at 8:17 PM on April 12, 2020

Best answer: Ha! I just baked with a can of condensed milk from 2014. It tasted fine!
posted by Everydayville at 10:49 PM on April 12, 2020 [3 favorites]

I wouldn't do it. Nobody wants food poisoning right now, so extra caution is warranted.

Just because other people gambled and won doesn't mean everyone who gambles will win :(
posted by amtho at 1:04 AM on April 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

Stuff in cans will last essentially forever. If the fan is intact and the stuff inside seems okay, I’d eat it.
posted by bile and syntax at 6:45 AM on April 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

The whole point of canning is to add ingredients (sugar, acids, salt) that reduce the rate at which the bacteria/yeast/mold that spoil food grow and to subject the jars to processing that creates a seal to deprive them of oxygen they need to grow. The problem is not generally passage of time but failure to create a seal, or subsequent loss of the seal. This allows oxygen in the jar or can and allows the bacteria to grow again. The fruit my great grandmother had canned didn’t look all that appetising in the 20+ year old jars we found in her basement. But the seal was still fine and the brave tester reported acceptable taste and texture although the content of the jars was ultimately discarded.

This guide to all things canning related also has a section how to identify spoiled food, which you may find helpful.
posted by koahiatamadl at 8:43 AM on April 13, 2020

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