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Folks on here have shared some pretty impressive experiences with eating canned foods (home-canned) that are older than my kids (ages 9-19). If I'm not mistaken, though, these experiences are not with home-canned meat.

So... I'm just trying to get a handle on what's the oldest canned meat anyone has eaten. I'm not advocating anything, just curious. And I tend to consider government expiration guidelines as way over-cautious. I do can meat in a pressure canner (in case anyone is concerned), but I've only been at it for about 18 months, so I don't have any long-term experience.

Thanks in advance! :wave:
 

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Texan
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I haven't been at it long either, maybe 5 years so I haven't accumulated that much. Last night I did make a soup with chicken breast canned in 2008(summer), so I guess that makes it almost 4 years. Was still good(I tasted it before adding it to the pot).

Commercially canned food is another story, I have eaten C-Rations that must have been almost as old as I was and they were good. Most people complained about them(C-Rats) but I always thought they were pretty good.
 

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I sold my soul to The_Blob. He had candy...
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:D:DFor some reason I knew Davarm would have tried the old stuff!:D:D
 

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Good shot, MD! :) Dave, that is our record also for chicken, ham, and beef -- 2008. Tasted just fine to us. My better half just made some beef stroganoff with a 2008 canning date.

Venison is a different story. PA game law requires meat to be consumed within 6 months of the kill so................. ahhhh, ok, yes sir, whatever you say, officer. :eek: dunkenshits.:mad:
 

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BillM
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The first canned meat used for army rations was Deviled Ham. It was invented and used as army rations for Union soldiers during the civil war. Nepolian used canned foods for French soldiers but the jars were sealed with lead solider and many were poisened by the lead.
 

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Texan
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The first canned meat used for army rations was Deviled Ham. It was invented and used as army rations for Union soldiers during the civil war. Nepolian used canned foods for French soldiers but the jars were sealed with lead solider and many were poisened by the lead.
The menu expanded, in the 70's they had beef and gravy and chicken patties, the chicken wasn't all that great but the beef and gravy wasn't too bad.

The Ham/Spam stuff probably was left over from the civil war.:D
 

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performing monkey
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we regularly keep 'country' ham for 5-6 years in the cellar... :rolleyes:
 

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Scavenger deluxe
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WW2 canned something....I think it was horse!That was late 70's ish maybe early 80's.May have been 25+ years old.
 

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performing monkey
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Have any idea how long they(country hams) would keep in a climate controled storage room? I generally dont mind that "Naturally Aged" flavor, keeps things from getting too boring.:D
if kept cool & dry... 'officially' 3 years :eek: :rolleyes:

I do 5 on a regular basis, but I'm NOT endorsing others to follow my example ;)
 

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Davarm & Blob, how about a little info on how you cure your hams? I'd done a little curing from the book, but I've also tasted some much better than the results of my puttering.

I'd love to learn how you do yours! Here's a brew to wet your whistles :beercheer:
 

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Thank the little dictator...

Napoleon used canned foods for French soldiers but the jars were sealed with lead solider and many were poisened by the lead.
I saw the account on James Burke's "Connections" series of how canned food came about(See the series on You Tube), and a little research brought up the following information:

http://voices.yahoo.com/history-canned-food-3400570.html

History of Canned Food
Thank Napoleon for Canned Soda

Nick Howes, Yahoo! Contributor Network

Jun 5, 2009

We owe our ability to get lunch from a can to the rise of Napoleon. We call it canned food. It's a common kitchen shelf presence: food in a tin can. Actually, that particular term is derived from the description "tinned canister" common in the early 1800's when canned foods were developed. What we think of as a tin can is actually tinplate, made of tin-plated steel. Other metals can be used as with aluminum in canned soda or beer.

During the Napoleonic Wars, the French Army found itself in need of a way of transporting food. It was, after all, Napoleon who recognized the need to care for this most basic of a soldier's needs when he famously observed "an army marches on its stomach."

In 1795, Europe was embroiled in war. Soldiers needed to be fed, sailors were developing scurvy at sea. A prize was offered for a solution, a prize claimed by Nicolas Appert in 1809 who received 12,000 francs.

Discovery

Using crude means with glass jars and corks, Appert discovered he could heat-sterilize the food in the container and seal the container hermetically. The result was preserved, edible food. The principle remains at the basis of canning today.

Tin Cans

Further research showed that tin cans were preferable alternative to the glass jars and bottles Appert began with and began manufacturing them himself. That aspect of the process was less successful, not to take away the credit he's due for discovering the benefits of the canning process.

Actually, it was an Englishman, Peter Durand, (He stole the idea from the French guy! :mad:) who took the next step. Durand patented a tin plate canister in 1810. The result looked much like the can on the shelf at today's local Kroger store, except that Durand's were handmade.

With shears and tinsnips, a tinsmith cut an oblong piece from a sheet of tinned iron sheeting, curved the piece around on itself and soldered the edges together. He then cut out a round piece and soldered it to the bottom of the resulting canister. Another round piece was soldered on top once the can was filled with its edible contents. A small hole was left in the top piece so the can be boiled without exploding due to the expanding contents. With the can still hot, the hole was soldered closed.

The use of tin solder could be harmful. In 1845, the Arctic expedition of Sir John Franklin after three years of eating canned food has crew members suffering from the effects of severe lead poisoning.

Military veterans who remember canned C-rations with the ham and beans or spaghetti, sometimes heated in a trash barrel full of boiling water, sometimes unpalatably cold, can trace their canned meals directly to the British Army. It was in 1813, the first commercial canning factory opened in England, under license from Appert, manufacturing canned food under contract for the army.

English-born William Underwood established a successful New England canning business, starting with bottles and in 1839 switching to tin cans. One of his tinkers could turn out 60 tin cans a day.

That changed in 1846 when a machine was invented by Henry Evans that could turn out ten times Underwood's output, 60 cans an hour.

In 1858, with the metal in tin cans thinning down, the first can opener appeared. It would come into common use during the approaching American Civil War.

Canned Food in the Civil War

In 1861, Fort Sumter was bombarded. Troops were recruited, and they needed feeding. They needed canned foods.

Demand provided the tune for an intricate dance of technological innovations that gradually transformed the industry in a 50-60 year period starting with the Civil War.

In 1861, a Baltimore canner, adapting an English discovery, found that the addition of calcium chloride to the boiling water raised the temperature to above 240 degrees drastically reducing the sterilization process from five or six hours to a half hour.

At the beginning of the Civil War, about 5 million cans were being turned out. By 1870, that figure was up to 30 million.

Civil war soldiers were eating from tin cans, sailors on Naval ships ate from tin cans, hospital patients ate meals featuring fresh foods from cans, small town and rural Americans began seeing canned vegetables normally unavailable to them on their shelves.

Improvements Continue

There were refinements in canning machinery that further simplified the production process, such as capping seals, a furnace that allowed sealing of cans much faster than a tinsmith.

Product improvement was also ongoing. In 1866, a tin can was patented which had a key attached to it, such as you still find with sardine cans. Sanitary cans were introduced in 1896, produced by chemist Charles M. Ams, which permitted an open-top can, easier to fill than the hole-in-top can it replaced.

After 10 years of attempts, Borden began to develop a market for its canned condensed milk. Corn, peas, and tomatoes began finding their way into cans, as did pineapples, salmon, apples, pears, and other edibles.

All benefited from production improvements in their own fields which dovetailed nicely with the increasing availability to producers of constantly improving canning techniques. The result was that canned food reached people in greater and greater amounts, creating a huge new market.

By shortly after the turn of the century, as portrayed in the movie Big Jake, John Wayne is offering to share canned peaches with Richard Boone who declines, saying they hurt his teeth.

But it wasn't just peaches and other fruit and vegetables that found their way into cans. In 1935, the first canned beer appeared :beercheer: and that soon became a major force in the market. In 1959, another refinement appeared, aimed primarily at beverages: the pop-top can. :2thumb:

All of which traces back to Napoleon's need to keep his Army fed as it swarmed over Europe.

Sources:

Bellis, Mary, History of the Can-And the Can Opener http://inventors.about.com/od/cstartinventions/a/tin_can.htm

Romance of the Tin Can, Modern Mexchanix, Feb 1937, http://blog.modernmechanix.com/2006/03/21/romance-of-the-tin-can/

"Tin Can," Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tin_can

All of this led to the ultimate canned food: :eek: :D :2thumb:
 

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I have eaten 10 year old home canned moose meat and it was great. It has been several years since I had moose meat, but I have eaten 5 year old home canned salmon on several occasions with no ill effects. As long as the lid isn't rusty inside, I would be good with eating any meat up to 10 years old that I had personally canned myself.
 

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Venison is a different story. PA game law requires meat to be consumed within 6 months of the kill so................. ahhhh, ok, yes sir, whatever you say, officer. :eek: dunkenshits.:mad:
I didn't know that! I'll have to go look at my PA crimes code now and find that!:scratch
 

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Good shot, MD! :) Dave, that is our record also for chicken, ham, and beef -- 2008. Tasted just fine to us. My better half just made some beef stroganoff with a 2008 canning date.

Venison is a different story. PA game law requires meat to be consumed within 6 months of the kill so................. ahhhh, ok, yes sir, whatever you say, officer. :eek: dunkenshits.:mad:
Just how on earth do they know how old it is? Geesh. Think I would have to can mine and label it "Wild cow" or "Garden Beef" or something coded to where I would know but no one else.
 

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Well I was in the army in the late 90's and I'm pretty sure our chow was from the Nam. But I don't think it was ever meat off some sort of animal so I don't think I win todays prize.
 
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