Shelf stable foods such as canned goods, cereal, baking mixes, pasta, dry beans, mustard, ketchup and peanut butter can be kept safely at room temperature.
To keep these foods at their best quality, store in clean, dry, cool(below85oF) cabinets away from the stove or the refrigerator’s exhaust. Extremely hot (over 100oF and cold temperatures are harmful to canned goods.
Never use food from cans that are leaking, bulging, badly dented, or with a foul odor; cracked jars or jars with loose or bulging lids; or any container that spurts liquids when you open it. NEVER TASTE such foods. Throw out any food you suspect is spoiled. In general, most canned foods have a long “health life,” and when properly stored, are safe to eat for several years:
- Low-acid canned goods 2 to 5 years (canned meat and poultry, stews, soups except tomato, pasta products, potatoes, corn, carrots, spinach, beans, beets, peas and pumpkin).
- High-acid canned goods – 12 to 18 months (tomato products, fruits, sauerkraut and foods in vinegar-based sauces or dressing).
- Some canned hams are shelf stable. Never store ham or any other foods labeled “keep refrigerated” in the pantry. Such foods must be stored in the refrigerator.