How Long Can You Keep Canned Tomatoes?
You can keep canned tomatoes for at least eighteen months because they are high acid foods. They will maintain the best quality till this time-frame. If the tomato cans don’t have rust, dents, or swelling on them, and they’re stored in a dry, cool and clean place then they’ll maintain good quality for a longer time period.
To maintain the best quality of canned tomatoes for as long as possible, you better know how to properly store them. Canned tomatoes are best used within 18 months, but will last up to two years. Canned tomatoes retain their best quality for 1-2 years, but are safe to eat for a long time.
There is a high chance that canned tomatoes are still safe to eat after this time, even if their taste, texture, and nutritional value are not the same. The reality is that even if canned tomatoes are technically edible after a certain period of time, their quality will decline rapidly. Canned tomatoes, when properly stored in a cool, dark place, can easily be stored for several months past their expiration date. According to The Spruce Eats, unopened, store-bought canned tomatoes can keep for a year or more past the “Best By Date” date if undamaged and stored in a cool, dark place.
By the way, if you are interested in How To Preserve Tomatoes, check out my article on that.
A jar of unopened tomatoes will keep for 18 to 24 months when stored in a cool, dry place at an average room temperature. Properly stored fresh tomatoes can last 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator. Chopped tomatoes should be used or frozen after a few days in the refrigerator.
The tomato will taste better if you take it out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before eating so that it returns to room temperature. Once opened, tomato sauce is best stored in the refrigerator for about a week or up to 18 months in the freezer in a freezer-safe container. Typically, homemade tomato sauce will keep for three to five days; however, if it does not contain cream or cheese, you can easily freeze it in airtight liter containers. Stored properly in a can or glass jar, tomato sauce is ideal for 2 years unopened in the pantry.
Depending on the acidity of the tomato sauce or the addition of artificial preservatives, tomato sauce can be left at room temperature (68-72 degrees F) for 2-5 days.
Tubed tomato paste can be left in the tube and stored in the refrigerator for 6-7 weeks after opening. Foods with a high acid content, such as pickles, condiments, chutneys, can be stored in the refrigerator for at least a year.
|Tubed tomato paste||For 6 to 7 weeks in the refrigerator|
|Canned tomatoes||For 1 to 2 years|
|Unopened tomato jar||For 18 to 24 months|
Use highly acidic foods such as fruit, pickles, and tomatoes within 2 years of the date on the package. Use low-acid canned foods such as vegetables and soups within 3 years of the date on the package. Leftover low-pressure canned foods like carrots or green beans should be refrigerated and eaten within 2-3 days.
High acid canned foods such as tomatoes and citrus have a shelf life of up to 1.5 years, according to the USDA. High acid foods such as tomatoes and other fruits will retain better quality than high acid foods for up to 18 months; Low acid foods such as meats and vegetables will keep the best quality low acid foods for 2-5 years. Generally, more acidic foods such as tomatoes will last 12-18 months in canned form; less acidic foods such as meat for 3-5 years.
Unopened, high-acid canned foods, such as tomatoes, retain their best quality when stored at room temperature (about 70 degrees Fahrenheit) for 18 to 24 months. Commercial canned foods should maintain their best quality until the expiration date on the can. Because canned foods don’t actually have an expiration date, some manufacturers put “best before” dates on their cans instead.
For the most part, these dates are conservative, and most canned foods can be stored months or even years past their expiration date. You will often hear “one year”, but according to leading researchers, this is the same shelf life as store-bought canned food. Shelf life is an estimate made by the manufacturer of how long a canned product will retain its highest quality.
In other words, the product remains safe after the expiration date, but undesirable from a quality standpoint. Canned meat and seafood must be used within three years from the date of expiration of the packaging. The freeze times listed are for the best quality only – canned meats that have been permanently frozen at 0 degrees Fahrenheit will keep indefinitely. Tomato products, fruits and juices should be consumed within five to seven days.
Place large sliced tomato halves on paper towels in a container and use within two days. Peel the tomatoes and squeeze the tomatoes into a sterilized glass jar, leaving a 1/2-inch space at the top.
For storage after opening, transfer all canned tomato products from cans to tightly sealed plastic containers or glass jars and refrigerate. To maximize the shelf life of canned or packaged tomatoes after opening, store them in the refrigerator in a sealed glass or plastic container. To keep leftover canned tomatoes for a longer period of time, transfer them from the jar to an airtight container or zip lock bag and place in the freezer.
To learn about How To Preserve Bananas, check out my article where I cover everything you need to know.
If the tomatoes smell good and don’t have any of the above warning signs, you can do a little taste test to see if they’re edible or not. The older the tomatoes, the less flavor they have. Learn more about how long you can keep canned tomatoes past their expiration date and let us know what you think.
If the jar is intact and you have stored it properly, tomatoes can be eaten after “Best” dates. Always check if they are not damaged when opened after the recommendations have expired.
It is especially dangerous to keep open jars in the refrigerator if the food is acidic, such as fruits and tomatoes. Do not attempt to store open metal cans in the refrigerator, as iron and tin can penetrate food and spoil its taste, and in some cases cause adverse health effects.
How do you know if canned tomatoes are bad?
Canned tomatoes that are stored properly at the appropriate temperature can be stored for upto 18 months. But if canned tomatoes show any molds, or off smell then they need to be discarded immediately.
How long do canned tomatoes last past the expiration date?
You can eat canned tomatoes over their expiration date as long as the cans are undamaged and do not bulge. Canned tomatoes preserve their greatest quality for 1-2 years, although they can be eaten for an extended period of time.
How can you tell if canned tomatoes have botulism?
Botulism can be detected if the container is leaking, bulging, or bloated; it seems broken, cracked, or odd; it sprays liquid or foam when opened; if the food is discolored, moldy, or smells terrible.