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Sweetened condensed milk dated 1998


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30 replies to this topic

#1 KathyP

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 01:02 PM

In the back of my pantry today, I found a can of Eagle Brand condensed milk. It's use by date is 1/1998. Can is in good shape. How long can canned good realistically be kept? Is it safe to use or should I pitch and buy another? Am planning to make that bar cookie with choclate chips, nuts, coconut and whatever else it calls for. Thanks.

#2 robirdstx

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 01:12 PM

The can is almost 13 YEARS past its expiration date. Why take a chance? I'd toss it.

#3 KathyP

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 01:17 PM

Had to ask, thanks for the response. Will definitely toss, but it was quite a surprise to find it there. Makes me wonder what else is in the pantry. Time for a good cleaning over the holidays.

#4 Chris Hennes

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 01:20 PM

Toss it? Hell, see if you can sell it as an antique on eBay!

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#5 DickL

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 02:47 PM

Personally, I'd buy another can and open them both when I was ready to do the recipe involved, planning to use the new stuff, of course. But it's a great opportunity to compare the ancient stuff with fresh. If it's the sweetened condensed milk (is there anything else under "Eagle" brand?), it might still be okay, but I'd expect it to be a few shades darker than that from a new can. Let us know if you do the comparison...
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#6 djyee100

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 04:51 PM

Just my two cents. To avoid any possible contamination in your kitchen, toss out the can unopened. Are you really that scientifically curious?

#7 Tri2Cook

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 04:59 PM

Just my two cents. To avoid any possible contamination in your kitchen, toss out the can unopened. Are you really that scientifically curious?

I would be...
It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

#8 Dakki

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 06:01 PM

As far as I know, expiration dates on cans are BS - US law doesn't even require them on anything but baby foods and formula. As long as the can isn't perforated the only stuff that can grow in there will make it bulge.

Here's a cute story about a couple eating a canned chicken they got as a wedding present - on their 50th anniversary!
This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

#9 infernooo

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 02:06 AM

Please open it and take a photo for us!

#10 Angela Knipple

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 02:42 AM

I'm impressed. We just went through our pantry and found a few things that should have died 5 years ago. I wasn't brave enough to open anything except the jar of alfredo sauce (I have no idea why we even had that because I've always made my own. I'm going to blame my mother.). After that and the screaming, we just threw the rest out intact. But that was a jar - I would expect that a can would be better about lasting.

But seriously, pictures would be excellent.

#11 Shalmanese

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 03:14 AM

It should have turned into dulce de leche by now...
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#12 K8memphis

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 08:05 AM

Is it any good you ask...as a door stop...but then again it might burst.

#13 Susie Q

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 09:19 AM

I came across so many expired can goods when cleaning my grandmother's pantry a few years back in the mid 90's. She would put the new stuff in front when stocking up the cupboards for winter. Towards the back a few of those cans were from the early 70's.

After living through the Depression she wouldn't and couldn't throw anything away. She had a fortune in twist ties and butter tubs. I silently tossed can after can, and box after box while telling her I was just cleaning and dusting.... and then went to the store to buy new items so the shelf depth looked the same.

#14 andiesenji

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 02:11 PM

In my opinion it should still be good. The stuff is processed so it is practically indestructible. I've been using cans from a case I purchased when I was catering and there are no dates on the case or the cans and I'm sure I purchased it in the mid '90s.

I was in the Army in the late '50s and we were from time to time fed stuff that had been canned during WWII and had no ill effects.
When I pulled KP duty, I saw cans (the giant ones) of sweetened condensed milk from the early '40s and it was used in pies, cakes, ice cream and whatever else the cooks could think of.
There was also evaporated milk from the same era.

Today the canning process is much more efficient so as long as the can is not damaged, particularly around the seams, I wouldn't worry about it.

The foods that are chancy are high acid because of the action of acid on the cans themselves.

I volunteer at a shelter and we get donations of canned foods that are long past the "best by" dates and we use them as long as the contents appear okay, no bubbles, no fizz when the can is opened and if the vacuum is intact.
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#15 ScoopKW

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 10:02 PM

I'd toss it into my compost pile. But only because a can of condensed milk is cheap. I agree that there's almost no risk using it. But why take ANY risk when a replacement is less than a buck?


For nearly everything life throws at me, I try to break it down to risk vs. reward:

Can of ancient condensed milk:

Risk:
Death from some unknown contaminate.

Reward:
$0.89 saved.



If it were beluga caviar, stored correctly, and just a little past it's sell-by date, I'd risk it. A can of milk that's almost old enough to start dating? Not so much.

Edited by ScoopKW, 20 December 2010 - 10:04 PM.

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#16 Chris Hennes

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 10:47 PM

I'd actually be really interested to know what potential contaminants we are worried about here (yeah, so I'm a nerd...). I would think that the extreme temperature SCM is processed at would eliminate any c. botulinin spores, and really pretty much anything else. What are the potential contaminants here?

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#17 andiesenji

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 09:53 AM

I'd actually be really interested to know what potential contaminants we are worried about here (yeah, so I'm a nerd...). I would think that the extreme temperature SCM is processed at would eliminate any c. botulinin spores, and really pretty much anything else. What are the potential contaminants here?



Unless the seams are breached in some way, in which case the contents will be discolored, usually a grainy gray (I've opened cans with dents along the seams, just to see what has transpired inside) there is not much that can contaminate anything that has been cooked at such a high temp as to render it sterile.

I don't recommend that anyone use anything that would cause them worry. I wouldn't feed anything like this to an infant or toddler or a very elderly person with questionable health. I just noted what I have done with this one item that in my experience has a much longer shelf life than the company indicates. Their current advice is two years shelf life. It used to be 5 years - and the process has not changed. There is the fact that they make more money when people throw out and replace cans that are still perfectly good.

Edited by andiesenji, 21 December 2010 - 09:58 AM.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
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#18 Dakki

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 10:12 AM

Can of ancient condensed milk:

Risk:
Death from some unknown contaminate.

Reward:
$0.89 saved.


Chicken.















(j/k)
This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

#19 RichardJones

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 11:13 AM

I'd definitely open it and have a taste.
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#20 Kouign Aman

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 11:18 AM

It would be tough for much to grow in SCM anyway, because of the high sugar content. Canning is just an added safety factor.
I'd probably buy a new can just in case of odd metallic taste in the old stuff (those cookies dont hide off tastes very well), but I too would do the can opening side by side, and do an appearance/taste comparison.
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#21 Chris Hennes

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 06:22 PM

It would be tough for much to grow in SCM anyway, because of the high sugar content.

Well, there is a lot of water in there too: I don't know what the water activity of SCM is, but it's surely a lot higher than any confections, and they have a finite shelf-life due to the amount of free water. So canning is more than a safety precaution... if you want more than two or three weeks of shelf life at room temp, I would guess that sterile canning is a must.

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#22 Kouign Aman

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 11:09 AM

SCM, not canned, will grow stuff, but not rampantly (compared to, say, chicken stock).
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#23 Chris Hennes

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 11:11 AM

True, of course. But the bacteria had 13 years to try... if the can's integrity was compromised, that is.

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#24 KathyP

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Posted 25 December 2010 - 08:07 AM

I chose the side of caution and threw out the can. Regret it now. Guess I'll have to get another and store it for 13 years. Stay tuned. And thanks for the opinions.

#25 Porthos

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Posted 25 December 2010 - 10:25 AM

I chose the side of caution and threw out the can. Regret it now. Guess I'll have to get another and store it for 13 years. Stay tuned. And thanks for the opinions.

Discretion is the better part of valor. Being safe is good.

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#26 Darcie B

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Posted 25 December 2010 - 01:22 PM

If it's any consolation, I had a can of scm that was just shy of a year past its expiration date. I decided to give it a shot in the bars I was baking. It did not seem as though the seal had been compromised, but the scm had darkened and developed a nasty off flavor. I suspect that it had gotten hot at some point(s) in its several years of sitting on the shelf. It was too yucky to use, albeit probably safe to eat.

My friend's grandmother canned many foods, and she would keep them forever. She once ate some canned peaches that had turned nearly black and were from the 1970s (this was in the 90s). She lived to be 106.
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#27 DanM

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Posted 25 December 2010 - 02:14 PM

I chose the side of caution and threw out the can. Regret it now. Guess I'll have to get another and store it for 13 years. Stay tuned. And thanks for the opinions.


I'd say skip the can of sweetened condensed milk and replace it with a nice bottle of wine or beer that will appreciate 13 years of neglect.

Dan
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#28 ScoopKW

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Posted 25 December 2010 - 07:19 PM


I chose the side of caution and threw out the can. Regret it now. Guess I'll have to get another and store it for 13 years. Stay tuned. And thanks for the opinions.


I'd say skip the can of sweetened condensed milk and replace it with a nice bottle of wine or beer that will appreciate 13 years of neglect.

Dan



Port.

I've kept bottles of port lying neglected in my parent's basement for decades.

Port's the best control for this particular experiment.
Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

#29 Kajikit

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 12:57 PM

In my experience condensed milk never dies. It just caramelises in the tin. The longer you keep it, the darker brown and thicker it gets. But it's otherwise unaffected. I haven't kept any for 13 years though - the oldest I've used it is about five! After 13 years I'd expect it to be a solid mass of caramel.

#30 andiesenji

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 02:08 PM

While delving into the stuff in my secondary pantry I found a sealed gallon pail of sorghum molasses from my family's farm that was processed in 1994. Peeled off the plastic sleeve, pried open the lid and found the molasses is still in excellent condition, not even a little crystallization. It's in a SS can which is still shiny inside and out. I've transferred the contents to a gallon jug for easier access.
I mixed some with butter to put on my biscuits earlier and it tastes as good as the stuff I purchased last fall, maybe better.

When I was a child, my grandfather had a cellar that held a lot of wines, some brought from England when he came to America in 1919 and which he managed to hold on to during prohibition.
Some of the port was from 1898 - I remember that date because those bottles were brought out on very special occasions - such as VE day and VJ day in 1945.
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