Preparedness / Self-Reliance, The Doctor is IN!

The Doctor is IN! I’m about to expire…

Dan wrote in with a question about expiration dates:

Mr. Stevens:

After buying your 1st (printing) book “Making the Best of Basics” (I heard you on Radio Liberty) and after reading the shelf life of canned foods chart I stocked up on canned food staples like peas, corn, hominy and carrots. Most have expiration dates of 2013 -2014 but I’m figuring I’ll get maybe 7 or 8 years.

You claim they’re good [beyond their expiration date] in your book if stored in a temperature of about 70 [degrees].Thing is you’re about the only person claiming these store bought canned food items can last anywhere near that long. Most say the expiration date is pretty reliable. Are you still standing by your original charts claims?

I realize most of what’s on the net is placed there by vendors who don’t make as much $$$ if they tell you to simply go to your store and buy 2 lbs corn in 2 cans for 50c each at the 99c store and they’ll last 8 years but their opinions are getting me down because they are many and you are few.

Has your claim changed?
Sincerely, Dan


You have me at a disadvantage––I don’t know who “they” are—I only know who I am and my information is always displayed with my name.

My “claim” is based on years of experience. There are many newbie, self-proclaimed, and naïve (in the true sense of the word!) gurus who merely re-post information that sounds good to them. The less you know and experience, the better all solutions sound.

If I wrote a book about my failures since 1974, they would fill volumes, but they were all close to the truth or resolving the problem.

It’s a fact that canned foods will last a lot longer than indicated on the item, within certain parameters:

• Primary Indicators: visual inspection reveals condition of can as having no cracks, no bulging seams or on tops/bottoms, no rust-through from inside or outside of container, has not been exposed to periods of extreme heat or cold, and can is intact and undamaged.

• Secondary indicators: a bit more difficult! Has can been stored within tolerable limits of reasonability its entire life? If it has been stored for a period of time in high heat locations even for a short period of time, it will affect the length of appropriate storage without problems. Some items are rather critical—like canned milk (evaporated and condensed), or high-acidity juices (pineapple, tomato, lemon, etc).

Food is life. Store it where you live—nowhere else! The cardinal rule is still this: Store what you eat, Eat what you store! Use it or lose it!

Did you get the last part of that statement? The newbie wags don’t get it—they are too focused on the front end of the statement! They don’t have the experience to understand the last part of it! If you buy and use your food wisely, you won’t normally have items go out of date. Perhaps that’s why dried—either dehydrated or freeze-dried foods are so valuable in long-term storage. Go figure!

I hope that gives you something you can chew on…pun intended!

Doctor Prepper