I have some green beans that were canned 5 years ago; are they still alright to eat?
The recommended storage period for canned food is one year. However, most foods will be safe to eat for more than 1 year if the seal is still good. Major changes that would occur during a long storage period will be in quality--color, flavor, texture and nutrient retention. Of course, those changes will be more extreme as storage time increases. If you want to eat the beans that have been stored for 5 years, take precautions! Check the seals first. If they are still intact and there are no indications of spoilage, be sure to boil the beans for 10 minutes before eating if you live below 1,000 feet, and 11 minutes if you live above 1,000 feet.
Barbara Willenberg, Nutritional Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia
Last update: Tuesday, May 05, 2009