Shelf Life Tips
- How long do unopened canned tomatoes last? The precise answer depends to a large extent on storage conditions - to maximize the shelf life of canned tomatoes (including crushed, stewed, whole, or diced tomatoes), store in a cool, dry area.
How long does an unopened can of tomatoes last at room temperature? Properly stored, an unopened can of tomatoes will generally stay at best quality for about 18 to 24 months, although it will usually remain safe to use after that.
Are unopened canned tomatoes safe to use after the "expiration" date on the can or package? Yes, provided they are properly stored and the can is undamaged - commercially packaged canned tomatoes will typically carry a "Best By," "Best if Used By," "Best Before", or "Best When Used By" date but this is not a safety date, it is the manufacturer's estimate of how long the canned tomatoes will remain at peak quality.
Storage time shown is for best quality only - after that, the canned tomatoes' texture, color or flavor may change, but in most cases, they will still be safe to consume if they have been stored properly, the can is undamaged, and there are no signs of spoilage (see below).
How can you tell if canned tomatoes are bad or spoiled? The best way is to smell and look at the canned tomatoes: if the canned tomatoes develop an off odor, flavor or appearance, or if mold appears, they should be discarded.
Discard all canned tomatoes from cans or packages that are leaking, rusting, bulging or severely dented.
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Sources: For details about data sources used for food storage information, please click here