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Old jars of tomatoes, are they safe.

j
jclawless Jan 1, 2014 02:45 PM

I am cleaning my pantry and found a box of tomatoes my mother canned for me, dated 2010. They are still sealed, but appears that liquid has evaporated some how. The level of the tomatoes has "shrunk". Are they safe to use?

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  1. s
    sr44 RE: jclawless Jan 1, 2014 04:12 PM

    I had the same problem a while ago, and threw them all out. If liquid has evaporated from the jars, botulism probably isn't a risk, but flavor isn't improved over the years.

    1. fldhkybnva RE: jclawless Jan 1, 2014 04:28 PM

      I was delighted to find 20 jars of diced tomatoes in the pantry when I was cleaning last night and was very excited to use what I have instead of buying anew. I grabbed another can 2 days ago to use in another dish and got a glimpse of the stamped expiration date - September 2010. The other cans are still in the pantry. The tomatoes taste and smell fine so will be kept. I would only worry if your cans are bulging, but if the tomatoes smell OK I'd use them.

      2 Replies
      1. re: fldhkybnva
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        sr44 RE: fldhkybnva Jan 1, 2014 04:36 PM

        These are home canned and show evidence of less than graceful aging.

        1. re: sr44
          fldhkybnva RE: sr44 Jan 1, 2014 05:43 PM

          Duh I missed the part about them being home-canned. In that case, no I wouldn't use them.

      2. m
        miss_belle RE: jclawless Jan 1, 2014 05:03 PM

        When it comes to older home canned goods that I didn't put up myself. And it's questionable. I always subscribe to when in doubt throw it out. No disrespect to your mother mind you.

        1. h
          HillJ RE: jclawless Jan 1, 2014 07:34 PM

          No.

          1. s
            Springhaze2 RE: jclawless Jan 1, 2014 08:05 PM

            I am not particularly cautious when it comes to using products within code dates, but I would not use those tomatoes. Two years old and no sign of degrading might be okay. But three plus years AND signs of degrading, I say no.

            I don't think I'd even feed them to our pet pig, who gets most of our kitchen scraps.

            1. alkapal RE: jclawless Jan 2, 2014 09:23 AM

              i'm as thrifty as it comes and i would toss these tomatoes, but keep the glass jars. LOL

              1. t
                tardigrade RE: jclawless Jan 2, 2014 10:52 AM

                Home-canned tomatoes will often separate, with the solids settling on the bottom of the jarsand the nearly-clear liquid portion rising to the top: that's normal. If the liquid has indeed evaporated, though, then they are not sealed. (quick test: when you press down on the center of the lid, do you hear anything?does it give a little and then snap back? That's not good.)

                Without seeing them or knowing how they were canned I can't say. But when in doubt, throw it out.

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