Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

KathyP

Sweetened condensed milk dated 1998

Recommended Posts

KathyP   

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
KathyP   

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DickL   

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...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
djyee100   

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tri2Cook   

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...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Susie Q   

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ScoopKW   

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 (log)
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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 (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dakki   

Can of ancient condensed milk:

Risk: Death from some unknown contaminate.

Reward: $0.89 saved.

Chicken.

(j/k)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
KathyP   

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Porthos   

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×