Are you like some people who open canned foods, scoop out only a portion of it and stash the rest in the fridge? If so, you may be wondering if it’s okay to eat a canned item a few days after it’s been opened. Well, you’re in the right place — the purpose of this article is to tackle this very important matter.
Here’s a quick answer: yes, it’s perfectly fine to eat canned foods after being opened for a few days. However, there are also other factors that come into play, such as what’s inside the can and how clean your kitchen tools are.
Provided that the canned products are placed in the refrigerator right after opening them, experts say that meat and fish can be consumed within 2 days, while fruits and vegetables may be good for up to an entire week. Past the given timeframes, you could be putting your health on the line if you insist on eating them.
The reason behind such? Bacterial multiplication! Certainly, you don’t want to eat something that is contaminated because you could end up with various GI problems, from a painful stomach to bacterial food poisoning.
While it’s true that the contents of canned goods are free of bacteria because of the preservatives added into them plus the absence of air (some bacteria cannot thrive in anaerobic or oxygen-free environment), you can easily introduce bacteria into canned food products upon opening them. Your can opener has bacteria. Your hands have bacteria. The spoon you use for scooping out some of the contents has bacteria. The outside part of the can itself has bacteria.
As you can see, it’s very easy to introduce bacteria into whatever canned food that you want to consume upon opening it. The moment that bacteria come into contact with the contents, they begin to multiply.
Stashing the opened canned food in the refrigerator can help delay the multiplication of bacteria. No, refrigerating won’t keep the opened canned product bacteria-free, but it can help slow down the rate of contamination. This allows you to enjoy the canned item for a few days after it’s been opened.
Before you dig in, it’s also very important to make some observations. Does the canned food smell okay? Does it taste fine? Is there mold present? A quick survey can help keep your health out of harm’s way.
Here are a few tips that can help extend the shelf life of a canned food product after it’s been opened:
- Make sure that you clean the top portion of the can before opening it.
- You should also keep your can opener and hands clean.
- Refrain from scooping out some of the contents with a dirty or used spoon.
- Transfer the contents to a clean container with a lid to prevent food drippings from getting in.