Can Unmasking - Part 3: Pearls of Peril​

Can Unmasking - Part 3: Pearls of Peril​

Posted by Ola Griffin on Mar 8th 2024

Welcome to the final 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 where we opened and prepared cocoa mix that had been stored for more than 10 years!

Click HERE to check out Part 2: Don’t Be A Flake where we opened and prepared potato flakes that had been stored since 2011!

To recap, 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. Together, we embarked on a journey to explore the condition and viability of long-term food storage after 10 and even 20 years, focusing on items that were either pre-packed in #10 cans or personally canned at the LDS Cannery (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). This investigation not only satisfied my curiosity but also provided us with invaluable insights into the preservation of food over decades.

Examining the Can

For this can it looks like we are going to be opening some instant potatoes, pearl type. The exterior of the can is covered in rust, dust, and cobwebs. These have been outside and the outer can is full of rust, dust and cobwebs. Upon closer inspection of the label, I noticed a packing date of May 16, 2001, which astonishingly makes these instant potatoes nearly 23 years old! 

Among the ingredients, "Canola Oil" catches my eye, accompanied by a recommendation to use within 3 years. Given that items high in oil typically don't fare well in long-term storage, often advised not to exceed a few years, perhaps up to 5 at most, I can't help but feel this might be the instance where my luck runs out. Up to now, I've been on a winning streak. It seems I'm poised for a potential setback in our food storage exploration journey.

Let's Open It!

Before opening the can, I clean off the layers of dust, rust, and cobwebs. It's crucial to clean and then thoroughly dry the area; introducing iron particles and debris into our food is the last thing we want.

As the can opener breaks the seal, releasing the can's pressure, a rancid odor immediately assaults my senses. It's a musky, nose-wrinkling smell that leaves no doubt about the can's contents being compromised. Even before laying eyes on them, I'm certain the potatoes have gone bad.

These potato pearls, which should exhibit a white to beige hue, have turned a deep golden color - a clear sign of spoilage. Instant potatoes like these are still an excellent addition to either your long-term storage or pantry due to their convenience and ease of preparation. However, unlike potato flakes, they are not suited for storage spanning decades.

I give these a big thumbs down and toss the can. Luckily there was only one can.

This time, I didn't win, but we all learned something important about what to store and the importance of adding "use by" dates. Writing the dates with a sharpie and rotating our food storage turns out to be the best way to avoid wasting food.

The saying "Waste not, want not" really applies here! When you're storing foods that contain fats, it's a good idea to keep them in an oxygen-free environment to slow down the process of them going bad. But even then, you can usually only store these kinds of foods for about 3-5 years if you're keeping them in the right conditions.

We're glad you've been with us on this journey of learning and discovery. There's more to come! My sister has a bunch of 5 Gallon and 1 Gallon buckets that were given to her, and some of the wheat in them is from the mid-70s. We can't wait to see what we find out next!

Happy prepping,

Ola D Griffin

Long-term Food Storage Expert

Customer Service, Safeguard Brands, Inc. dba PackFreshUSA

YouTuberPandemic Prepsters - YouTube

Instagram -Ola Dee Griffin (@Preparedness101) • Instagram Photos And Videos

Tiktok -Oladeegriffin (@Oladeegriffin) | TikTok

Phone:(844) 857-8277




Toll Free 5 Star Service Line: (844)8 5 STARS (844) 857-8277

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

Check it out!