All the “reputable” canning guides say that you should only store your home canned items no longer than one year.
Personally I don’t want to eat any canned food that has sat in a storage bin for 15 years BUT….
If I had nothing else to eat and the can is in good shape, I may try it.
My belief is the contents should be safe to eat, although the taste, texture and nutritional value of the food can diminish over time.
However, I had some old chicken and wanted to do a 2 Year Canning Update and actually try it.
I know that’s the stance of the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service when dealing with COMMERCIALLY canned items even though on their FAQ they say…
Store canned foods and other shelf stable products in a cool, dry place. Never put them above the stove, under the sink, in a damp garage or basement, or any place exposed to high or low temperature extremes. Store high acid foods such as tomatoes and other fruit up to 18 months; low acid foods such as meat and vegetables, 2 to 5 years.
Canned meat and poultry will keep at best quality 2 to 5 years if the can remains in good condition and has been stored in a cool, clean, dry place.
Beware the Enemies of Food Storage
From other posts I have said that Heat, Light, Air, and Moisture are the enemies of food storage. I have kept this meat upstairs in our air conditioned living space, in our storage room and away from light. The can is not bulged to indicate botulism growth (I am scared of botulism to the extent my best friend is scared of clowns)…
I have several of these cans of chicken that I pressure canned at the same time 2 years ago. The dates were written on the can and I promptly forgot about them. My intent is to open a can or two every year until I run out that way I can unscientifically experiment with the taste and texture changes over time.
When I opened the cans, I checked to make sure the lid was not “bulged” and there was no external damage to the jar. I then made sure the chicken smelled normal, and looked normal. This is a little subjective, but I err on the side of caution and listen to any nagging doubts. I follow a simple concept with home canned food.
“IF IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT”
This batched passed muster, and I kept a couple jars back to try next year and each following year until I run out of this batch. I made some pretty decent chicken and dumplings with it, which you can find as a later post.