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Are canned goods that are frozen inside the jar safe to eat?

If home or commercially canned foods freeze, they are still safe to eat IF the seal (or seam of the can) is not broken.

When commercially canned foods freeze, the food inside expands and the can may bulge or even burst. Throw cans in this condition away, without tasting (don't even give it to your dog). Even if the can is not bulging, there may be microscopic openings in the seams due to stress.

Thaw frozen canned goods slowly; a refrigerator is an ideal place to thaw such foods. Commercially canned foods can be placed on a tray or plate to check for leakage from the seams that may not be apparent. If any leakage occurs, discard the food.

Use canned goods that have frozen as soon as possible (providing seals and seams are not leaking) as quality will deteriorate quickly.

Starchy foods may curdle (separate) when frozen -- thawing and heating should correct this problem.

As an added precaution, boil all low acid foods 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the food, before tasting.

If produce canned at home was processed in jars made for freezing as well as canning, the frozen jar may be placed directly in the freezer and kept there until used. Keep in mind that quality, especially texture, will be affected. Therefore, this food should be used as soon as possible.

Any food that looks or smells bad should be discarded so that humans and animals cannot eat it.

To prevent loss of food, home and commercially canned goods should be stored in an area where they will not freeze. While an unheated porch or garage might be acceptable during a normal Missouri winter, these areas will not offer enough protection from freezing during the sub-zero temperatures that Missouri sometimes has. If jars must be stored where they may freeze, wrap them in newspapers, place them in boxes and cover them with more newspapers and heavy blankets.                 



Barbara Willenberg, Nutritional Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia




Last update: Tuesday, May 05, 2009



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