Can You Store Canned Foods In The Refrigerator?

Variety of open canned foods
Variety of open canned foods - Olenamykhaylova/Getty Images

You probably know that canned items are among the foods you don't actually have to refrigerate. When stored correctly, canned foods can last anywhere from 18 months to five years, depending on the food. However, could you opt to store your canned food in the fridge if you simply wanted to?

While you technically can, it's not recommended. If your canned items are unopened, the USDA advises against storing the cans in the fridge unless it's for a very short time. Canned items should be kept away from environments that are exposed to extreme temperatures, such as the fridge and the freezer. In fact, eating frozen canned food is a disaster waiting to happen as any potential freezing, thawing, and re-freezing can put you at risk for botulism. Additionally, environments that have high humidity and moisture levels can cause the cans to deteriorate. Ideally, you should keep your canned foods in a slightly cool, dry space, such as in a cabinet or pantry -- though the USDA further warns that you should keep your canned items in cabinets that are not over your stove or under your sink.

Read more: 6 Canned Meats You Should Buy And 6 You Shouldn't

Can You Refrigerate Open Cans Of Food?

Person opening can of tomatoes
Person opening can of tomatoes - Miniseries/Getty Images

The USDA's recommendations for storing canned foods in the fridge, however, change slightly when it comes to open cans of food. Let's say you opened a can of tuna to make a salad, but didn't use the entire can, or you popped open a can of tomato paste and didn't use it all (because who ever does?). If you want to refrigerate that leftover food right in the can, the USDA says you can do so, but you should ideally use the leftovers within four days.

Just because you can do something, though, doesn't always mean that you should. There's a good reason why you shouldn't store food in an open can. The USDA notes that leftover food stored in its open can may not retain its quality and flavor, as the oxidizing metal can impart a tinny taste. It's a better choice to transfer the food to another container that you can close and seal. It's also worth noting that some opened canned foods will last longer in the fridge than others; for example, an open can of veggies may last just a day before deteriorating in quality, while tomato sauce may last longer.

Read the original article on Mashed