Good Question. The pat answer is a year or so. But wait that is about the same as freezing.
That’s because no one will go out on a limb in case there is a problem.
First, the quality of the canning job and the canning materials will determine your outcome. If you did a good job prepping and preparing the product it will last a long time. In my case I have, with the appropriate disclaimers for this is an example not true in every case, eaten four year old canned elk. It was excellent.
You have to pay attention to your canned products to tell if there is a problem. If the lid is not concave and does not make the sucking noise when you open it, the food is spoiled. Unless you find this problem right out of the canner, that food is garbage, no exceptions. If the food has the smell of rotten meat, in the case of canned meat, it is garbage. If there is mold growing on the food, it is garbage.
I do have to say canned meat will turn dark, and the fat separates and will collect on the top of the meat. This is normal. The process of cooking kills the germs in the jar. It drives out the air in the jar through the boiling process. As the jar cools it seals and there is now a vacuum in the jar. No air. For most contaminants, this process eliminates the possibility of spoilage as long as the seal holds. It is important that the jar be stored in a cool dry place for this to remain true, however.
The process of canning is designed to eliminate the causes of spoilage, and allow the canned food to last a long time. If a step in the process is done wrong, the results can be more than inconvenient. Some bacteria can’t be smelled or tasted. They don’t off gas so they don’t cause the vacuum to disappear. These bacteria are anaerobic or non air dependent. They are killed by the cooking process. So it is critical that the process be done right. If you are in doubt about the food, don’t take a chance. If you are brave, try a small sample. It will take hours to be sure of the foods safety. Don’t serve food you are unsure about to a crowd and especially not to the very young or elderly. The effects of a small amount of food poisoning can be fatal in small quantites to the weak.
If you are diligent and thorough you can be confident that the food is good as long as the good indicators I mentioned are present. You should also be aware of rusty lids as these can be a source of bacteria infiltrating the jar and ruining a good thing.
As always look around at other sources and don’t take any chances.
October 29, 2007 Categories: Game Meat . . Author: Jerryo
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