Does Canned Soup Go Bad? – Full Analysis

by Charlie

Canning is a special method of food preservation, and its discovery has forever changed food storage.

Many people believe that canned food must be thrown out after the sale by date. The sell-by date has to be printed on the can by law. But you don’t have to throw out that food. 

Does canned soup go bad? Yes, canned soup does go bad, but not as fast as you may think. If the canned soup is stored in a dry place and is not punctured, it will likely last for up to 5 years or more. If the can is opened and the contents are stored away, then it won’t last as long as if it was in the can. Depending on the ingredients, an open can of soup lasts 24 hours to 4 days.

Because of US laws and FDA regulations, every single canned food, not just soup, has its sell-by date labeled somewhere on the can.

How Long Does Sealed Canned Soup Last?

Because of the absence of bacteria and microbes that causes food to spoil, canned food lasts a long time. As long as a can of food is stored in a cool and dry place, and the can is never punctured or dented, and it does not develop any holes or tears in the seal, a can of soup can easily last for five years.

However, when we say that the can of soup can last for five years, that does not mean that the soup’s texture and flavor will last. The soup’s flavor may change or fade away, and the texture won’t be as fresh as it once was, but it is still fit for consumption because of the absence of bacteria in the soup.

How Long Does Open Canned Soup Last?

However, the unbelievably length of time that a can of soup lasts no longer applies once the can is open. When the can is open, the soup is then vulnerable to all of the air’s microbes and bacteria. Even if the open can of soup is stored in the refrigerator, it does not have long before it spoils. As a general rule, an open can of soup lasts 24 hours to four days if it is in the fridge.

But sometimes people are forgetful. If you warm up their soup in a pot on the stove, they usually get half or 3/4 of the soup and leave the rest in the pot. Then they forget about it and go about their day. If some soup is left on the stove in a pot, it will only last a few hours. And if the person decides to eat the rest of the soup later, then they will have to heat it back up on the pot to kill the small number of bacteria now in the soup. 

How Long Does Canned Soup Last? Shelf Life [Chart]

Type of Canned SoupLength of Time
Canned soup, unopenedUp to 5 years, at least
Canned soup, opened 24 hours to 4 days

What is Canning?

Canning is a food preservation type where food or meals are prepared or cooked as normal and the pasteurized, flash-frozen, boiled, or dried out. These methods are to prevent microbial growth from growing inside the can and spoiling the food. Then the contents are placed into a thick glass mason jar or a metal can and then sealed.

The seal is airtight, so no bacteria can get inside the can. The double protection against bacteria and microbes, which cause food spoilage, canned food lasts a long time. 

The soldiers of WW1 were the first soldiers in a major conflict to experience the benefits of canning. In war, the threat of food spoilage during the transportation is constant. If the food did not arrive in time, soldiers would have to scavenge the local area in order to find edible food. Or they would have to take their chances and cut off any unspoiled food bits and take the chances and eat.

But since canning prohibits food spoilage, the food could reach hungry soldiers without worry. If a can of food is canned well, it could last for up to 30 years. If a can of food does last that long, the flavor of the food might lose its taste, but there will not be any bacteria or microbes in the food. 

What are the Common Ingredients of Canned Soup?

Now, because of experimentation conducted by food companies, any type of soup can be canned. There are now many different types of preservatives and stabilizers used in canned food to preserve the flavor of the food and the texture of the food.

Because of these preservatives, chunks of food will not turn to liquid after a year, and pieces of rice will not disintegrate when taken out of the can and warmed up. If you travel down the aisle of any grocery store in the world, there are entire aisles dedicated to canned foods and canned ingredients.

Types of Canned Soup

There is as many canned soups as there are soups globally, but here are the most popular soups in North America.

  • Chicken soup
  • Minestrone
  • Vegetable soup
  • Menudo
  • Barley
  • Beef soup
  • Tomato soup
  • Albondigas
  • Tomato soup
  • Clam chowder
  • Chile Verde
  • Bisques
  • Split pea and ham
  • Noodle soup
  • French onion soup

It is best to stop here because this list can go on and on. As long as a soup is pasteurized and then double sealed, any soup can be canned. 

We should tell you that just because the soup is canned does not mean that it will taste like a regular freshly made soup.

Because of the soups’ preservatives, some soups with acidic ingredients, like tomato soup or butternut squash soup, will have an acidic aftertaste. Some people do not like this aftertaste, and they cannot stand it, so they avoid those types of canned soups. 

Conclusion

  • Canning was a revolutionary food preservation technique that truly changed the way human beings stored their food.
  • Food spoilage has always been a major issue during wars, but canning and canned foods change all that.
  • Turning is a food preservation technique where food is prepared, frozen, dried, or boiled to kill and prevent bacteria that cause food spoilage.
  • The food is then placed in a thick glass mason jar or tin can and double sealed to create an airtight feel.
  • The airtight seal will not allow any microbes to enter into the container, therefore preserving the contents of a mason jar can for years.
  • Although all canned foods have a sell-by date or expiration date, these are on the can because of FDA regulations. It does not mean that the food goes bad after the date passes. 
  • Some canned foods can last for over 30 years because of the absence of microbes that causes food to spoil.
  • All kinds of different soups are canned, and they can now maintain their flavor and texture because of food experimentation over the last 50 years by food companies.
  • As long as a soup is pasteurized and then sealed into an airtight container, any type of soup can be canned.
  • If a can of food is stored in a cool, dry place and the can is never punctured or dented, it is designed to last for at least five years. 
  • Once a can of soup is open, it will not last as long as if it was closed. 
  • On average, an open can of soup will last from 24 hours to 3 days. After that, it is best to throw it out. 

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