Can Unmasking - Part 2: Don’t Be a Flake

Can Unmasking - Part 2: Don’t Be a Flake

Posted by Ola Griffin on Mar 1st 2024

Welcome to the second installment of our Can Unmasking series, where we delve into the exploration of food storage cans which belong to my friend Cindy and have been stored for over a decade.

Click HERE to check out Part 1: Cocoa Heaven regarding where we opened and prepared cocoa mix that had been stored for more than 10 years!

To bring you up to speed, Cindy had built up a considerable stash of #10 cans filled with long-term food storage goods. She had taken them out of storage and had them outside of her home for several months. Their time outside has taken its toll on these cans as rust, dust, and cobwebs started to accumulate on them. Aware of my curious nature, Cindy graciously permitted me to conduct my own examination of these cans. She knows once I get an itch, I must scratch it.

Discovering the Contents

The labels on these #10 cans read "Potato" with a date stamp of 2/2011. They felt notably light, leading me to believe they contained potato flakes. Generally, plain potato flakes have a shelf life of up to 20 years when stored in ideal conditions. These cans, having been stored for over a decade, had reached the midpoint of their potential lifespan. Despite not being kept in ideal conditions, I was eager to determine their current state.

Ensure the can is clean and free of any loose debris before opening it. Make sure to dry the can thoroughly prior to applying the can opener.

As I engaged the opener on the can, a "whish" of air greeted me, indicating a breach of its sealed state. YES! Despite external rust, the interior remained unaffected—a positive sign indeed. The rush of air confirmed it had been in an oxygen-free environment. Excitedly, I removed the lid to discover small flakes, alongside a depleted oxygen absorber, which I promptly discarded.

They passed the first test, in an oxygen-free zone, they look good and smell good too. I cannot tell you how excited I get when I find that food stored looks good.

Taste Test

Now, the moment of truth awaited: to determine the quality of these fluffy flakes. I turn the kettle on and heat my water to rehydrate the potatoes. I slowly add boiling water and season with a little salt.

This isn't about preparing a meal; rather, it's a taste test to ensure quality. After sampling the potatoes, I am satisfied. I offer Cindy and her son a taste, considering it's their food storage, and they respond with enthusiastic thumbs up. Therefore, the potato flakes pass the tests and are good and safe to store again.

Repacking for Storage

I place the flakes in 2-Quart 7 Mil Seal-Top Premium Gusset Mylar Bags. Gusset Bags are my favorite to use for not only are they easy to fill but the quality is just the best. I placed about 5 cups in each bag, as shown in the following photos.

Here is the total number of bags that I repacked of the potato flakes from the (3) three #10 cans.

The Benefits of Potato Flakes

Potatoes are high in calories and they are full of minerals. These yummy flakes are great for thickening soups and for adding more substance to simple things, and of course, these can be made into mashed potatoes. They simply scream comfort food. So, potato flakes are a great product to store long-term as they are easy to pack and inexpensive.

Potatoes are my top 5 items to dehydrate. Potatoes are super easy to dehydrate, and you can easily do it in your oven if you don’t have a dedicated dehydrator. You can also freeze-dry potatoes.

For long-term storage, it's advisable to store pure potato flakes instead of instant potato mixes. The latter contain a significant amount of fat, which can spoil and turn rancid over time. Pure potato flakes, on the other hand, can be preserved for decades, unlike instant potatoes, which typically last between 3 to 5 years. Employing an oxygen-free storage method can extend the shelf life of instant potatoes; however, they should be rotated more frequently to ensure freshness.

If you want to learn other ways to store potatoes for long-term check out our dehydrating blog:

Adventures in Food Dehydrating - PackFreshUSA.

Stay tuned for the final blog post to our Can Unmasking series, where we make an unpleasant surprise!

Happy prepping,

Ola D Griffin

Long-term Food Storage Expert

Customer Service, Safeguard Brands, Inc. dba PackFreshUSA

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PackFreshUSA is featured in this Meat + Poultry Magazine article on using oxygen absorbers with jerky.

Check it out!