What To Look Out For On The Label When Buying Canned Tomatoes

woman reading can labels
woman reading can labels - Vladdeep/Getty Images

When it comes to a quick, easy, and delicious dinner, you really can't miss with canned tomatoes. Along with the nutritional advantage they have over fresh tomatoes, canned varieties also make for a more convenient meal prep process. However, you'll need to check out the label to make sure your meal is as flavorful and wholesome as possible. Simplicity reigns supreme with canned tomatoes, so you don't want a label that features an extensive list of ingredients. Instead, opt for a brand that lists just a few essential ingredients.

This typically includes a specific kind of tomatoes and salt for a bit of flavor enhancement. Canned tomatoes also naturally include water, but some brands may use juice from the tomato instead. Brands with artificial preservatives and ingredients should be avoided (except for citric acid, which reduces the risk of bacterial growth in canned tomatoes). Added seasonings are also problematic, but not for health reasons. Extras like garlic and basil can alter the flavor of the finished dish, thereby rendering your careful seasoning blend less impactful.

Read more: 13 Canned Foods You Should Avoid At The Grocery Store

What's The Standard Shelf Life For Canned Tomatoes?

opening canned tomatoes
opening canned tomatoes - Miniseries/Getty Images

All canned goods have a finite lifespan, although some items last longer than others. In general, canned foods with high acidity levels can last about 18 months when the can is unopened. Once the can has been opened and tomatoes are exposed to the air, you have approximately seven days before spoilage becomes an issue, provided that you store the remaining tomatoes in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

As for unopened cans, certain signs indicate your quality canned tomatoes are no longer fit for consumption. Bulging canned food poses a major safety hazard, as swollen cans often harbor nasty bacteria. Other defects to watch for include leaks, dents, and cracks. If you open the tomatoes and liquid spurts out, do not eat them. This means that pressure inside the can increased during storage, which is another sign of bacterial growth. Of course, you can avoid these unwanted outcomes by keeping canned tomatoes safe from spoilage.

How To Store Your Canned Tomatoes To Ensure Longevity

cabinet with canned food
cabinet with canned food - Boogich/Getty Images

Proper storage is a crucial concern with any canned items, including wholesome and nutritious tomatoes. In this case, you must store unopened cans in your pantry or elsewhere in your kitchen, provided that conditions are amenable. The best place to keep canned tomatoes is somewhere cool and dry. Along with protection from moisture, you should also ensure that the area doesn't experience increased humidity.

In an attempt to maintain the cool, dry conditions needed to keep canned tomatoes in good shape, you might believe that freezing is the way to go. However, you should never eat canned food that's been frozen, as expanding food may damage the can and potentially result in food safety issues. And even if the can remains intact, freezing and thawing the contents of cans will negatively impact texture and flavor. By utilizing best practices, you can rest assured that quality canned tomatoes remain food-safe and tasty until the time comes to incorporate them into your recipes.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.