How long can you keep and use green beans that were canned. I found a jar dated 8/20/08. They look good and have a sufficient amount of liquid around them.
By Louise O
You know who are the real experts at the longevity of canned foods? The people who run soup kitchens and food pantries. Give them a call!
Being a long time home canner myself, I do feel comfortable answering this. First, check a couple things. Open the jar, was it still sealed? Do not taste! Smell for any "off", odor, knowing that botulism is not detected by odor or taste, but other natural decay could be. Then, check the texture of a bean that is submerged in the water. Is it firm or is it soft and not attractive to think about eating.
If all these things pass your tests, (by the way, wash your hands, so you don't forget the botulism thing), pour the beans into an open sauce pan, bring to a boil, boil, uncovered, for no less than 17-18 minutes, and the beans will be safe to eat.
I have a jar myself, dated about the same time, and will be using them soon. I never use any green beans, or low acid food that is home canned without boiling it for the proper time to kill botulism. We have eaten many jars of 3-to 8 or 9 year old food, as long as it met the above tests.
I think LJF gave you the best answer. I was just going to say if the seal was intact and there was nothing "odd" looking about the beans when you open the jar then they are probably fine. We can many things and open jars years old that are fine. Not just beans either.
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