Shelf life of canned foods

I have recently cleaned and rearranged our pantry and found several store bought cans with the expiration date of 2013 and 2014, are they still good and how long can I keep store bought cans?

Claudine Norwood
Wagoner, Oklahoma

Like your home-canned foods, store-bought foods remain good until the can rusts out. I’ve found that the expiration date is a suggestion that makes people throw out “outdated” food. Don’t throw away perfectly good food and go buy more that is “fresh.” Use that food instead! — Jackie

Electronic pressure cooker

You are so on top of things that I have a question for you. You may have already addressed this question and if so, I apologize for asking it again. Have you used the new electronic pressure cooker? It’s called “The original Power Pressure Cooker XL.” Its website is: They advertise that it can be used for pressure canning. Since it is electric and electronic, I am a little bit skeptical.

Pati Sandstrom
Olympia, Washington

A lot of pressure cookers are advertised as being able to be used as a canner, but I don’t think it’s a good idea. Get a canner for canning. I’ve gotten in the habit of either fixing quick meals from my “meals in a jar” in the pantry, which are already cooked and canned or else doing things the old-fashioned way using the oven or stove top. — Jackie


  1. I looked in to the ELECTRIC pressure cooker/canner, and in many comments, the people said that, even in the book that comes with the cooker, it doesn’t raise the pressure high enough for posted temperature guides for safe CANNING. Personally, after reading more about it, I think it would be a great/fast meal resource, but I wouldn’t trust it as a canner. As Jackie knows, I’m a beginner, so you have every right to take my thoughts with multiple grains of salt.

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