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Mar 5, 2013 02:10 PM

Age Your Canned Goods

Fascinating article by Harold McGee here:

"I consulted the eminent Sacramento grocer Darrell Corti, who very kindly shared a few items from his storeroom. I compared a new can of French sardines in olive oil with 2000 and 1997 millésimes. The brands were different, and so were the size and color of the fish and the quality of the olive oils. That said, the young sardines were firm and dry and mild; the older vintages were fragile to the point of falling apart, soft and rich in the mouth, and fishier in a good way. A 2007 (70th anniversary) can of Spam was also softer than the 2012 (75th), less bouncy and less immediately and stingingly salty, though the aromas were pretty much the same. Some Corti Brothers mincemeat aged for a year under a cap of suet was delicious, its spices and alcohols seamlessly integrated. A five-year-old tin of French goose foie gras: no complaints. Two vintages of Corti Brothers bergamot marmalade: the older noticeably darker in color and surprisingly reminiscent of Moroccan preserved lemons. And 3-year-old Cougar Gold—still moist and not as sharp as open-aged cheddars—was deeper in color and flavor than the yearling version, with a touch of caramel and the crunchy crystals that are the hallmark of hard aged Goudas."

Does anyone do this?

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    1. re: sunshine842

      Me too. But glad to see this. I live in a "magic house" so never particularly worry. But I did recently give a couple of cans of pozole that had been around for about seven or eight years (i'd dated them).

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        Ah, well- to paraphrase, if I'd heeded your advice posted in 2006, the sardine cellar would have 7 years on it by now!

        As things stand, rooting around in the nether regions of the highest pantry I find I have a can of Katy's Smokehouse smoked albacore which can't be younger than five, a can of SPAM best by 5/2012, and a can of Van Camps's Beanee Weenee kept as a souvenir from when Georges hit New Orleans in '98 and that one can was the last, sole item on the shelf.

        I'll probably eat the SPAM (diminishing the salt blast but retaining the aroma, if it translates into flavor, appeals), and at least assess the fish, but I'm not touching the Beanee Weenee.

        If it weren't for the sentimental aspect, I'd send it to McGee.

        1. re: Pius Avocado III

          Sounds like we visited Katy's in Trinidad around the same time! Wish I'd bought canned instead of vacuum-packed. Found a pack of smoked albacore belly cut buried in the bottom of the extra fridge, and even I wasn't willing to take a chance on three-year old fish.