Canned tuna is another staple food that can be found in just about any pantry in the country. It is preferred not only because of its reasonable price, deliciousness, and versatility but also because of its long shelf-life.
But how long can you store the canned tuna? And will it go bad ever?
Read on for everything you need to know about storing the canned tuna, its shelf-life, how to preserve it once you open the can, and how to tell if it has gone bad.
How Long Does Unopened Canned Tuna Last?
Thanks to its sturdy packaging done in a sterile environment and the processing of the fish, canned tuna has a surprisingly long shelf life. It is much more inexpensive and easy to store than raw or cooked tuna.
The same goes for most types of store-bought canned food.
Usually, if the canned tuna has been stored in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight, and if the can have not leaked, rusted, or been damaged, you can expect it to last and be safe to eat even years after its expiration date.
The shelf-life of sealed canned tuna depends on the type and brand you buy. In many cases, the shelf life can be 3 to 5 years. The contents of the can may remain safe and delicious to consume for months and even years after the expiration of the best-by date.
Keep in mind that the date printed on the label is for the best by date for the best quality of the content and not for its safety.
But once you open the can and expose the contents to air, the shelf-life becomes much shorter. Keep the canned tuna in the fridge no longer than 3-5 days after opening it.
Will Canned Tuna Go Bad? Tips for Determining Whether the Canned Tuna Is Bad?
Despite all factors that ensure a very long shelf life of commercially made canned tuna, there is still a risk of the contents going bad, even if the container has not been opened.
This can be caused by very lengthy storage, faulty or damaged packaging, unsuitable ambient conditions, or others.
Read on for our tips for telling whether the canned tuna has gone bad and when to throw it away.
Here are the tell-tale signs that you should get rid of the canned tuna:
Check the best-by date printed on the can. If many years have passed, it is probably a good idea not to risk opening and eating the fish.
If you notice that the can is rusted, swollen, dented, leaking, or otherwise damaged, throw it out for peace of mind.
If the can “explodes” when you open it, then you should discard it and its contents immediately.
If there is a foul sour or acidic smell when you open the can, you better not risk eating the canned tuna.
If the tuna’s color is off and is not the usual light pink, brown, or grayish, throwing the can and food away is advisable.
If you have left an opened can or its contents in the fridge for more than 5 days, then it is safer to simply toss it in the garbage.
You can also resort to tasting a tiny bit of the contents if you are not sure. You should be able to tell straight away whether the canned tuna is good to eat or not as soon as you taste it.
If you happen to have stumbled upon spoiled canned tuna, dispose of it immediately. Make sure you wash your hands and any surfaces which have come into contact with the spoiled fish.
Overall, if the can doesn’t look damaged, and if you have just opened it after storing it correctly, it is very likely that the contents are ok to use and eat.
How to Store the Canned Tuna
When storing canned tuna, make sure to keep it away from direct sunlight and from a heat source. It is best to store the cans in a cool, dark, dry pantry, cupboard, or other storage space.
If the ambient temperatures in the kitchen are over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, then move the cans to a cooler spot because temperatures as high as this can compromise the sealing of the cans.
Keep the cans away from moisture to avoid corrosion.
As soon as you open the can, pour any leftovers into an airtight container, and store them in the refrigerator. The leftover canned tuna will last for about 3-5 days in the fridge when packed like this.
It is not a good idea to freeze canned tuna either.
Another safety tip is always to wash the can itself before opening it. This will help prevent contamination of bacteria from outside of the can into the food. This is especially important if you are planning on storing the opened fish for one or more days.
Use a clean and airtight to keep the leftover fish in the refrigerator, and abstain from storing it in the can itself.
For safety purposes and to prevent food wastage, it is recommended that you eat or use the canned tuna before its expiration date, and make sure to eat any leftovers as soon as possible after opening the can.