The missus reported that someone at her place of work wound up having to clean out her deceased mothers house in preparation for a remodel. As they are cleaning out the accumulated detritus they come across canning stuff. Would I be interested? Sure. I can always use more jars. Well, in addition to empty jars (carefully inspected for nicks, chips and other damage) there were some full ones. Pears and peaches mostly. How old? Well, lets let the EOS 7D do the talking:
The box is from a Montana brewery that ceased operations in ‘48. It probably has some collector value to it…especially if it still had beer in it. But, alas, no 60-year-old beer.The contents? Well, theyre a bit newer but not by much.
Wonder how old those jars are? Fortunately, someone labelled them:
Yup, those jars are from 1963. Kennedy was President (well, for most of that year anyway) and coins were still made of silver. Ah the ’60s. It looks like things held up remarkably well for sitting on a basement shelf for almost five decades. Wait….or did they?????
Notice that the two rightmost jars appear to have sludge in them. Not surprising since the seals on those two jars have lost their integrity. The lid does not have that familiar concave depression that comes from a well sealed jar. As a result, the contents of the jars have turned into something that I would imagine is incredibly foul, putrid and toxic. (In fact, the canning books urge you not to just pour this stuff into a hole in the ground because of water contamination and botulism concerns).
The jars on either side of those two, however, have lids that remained intact and the contents appear to be just fine. I say “appear to be” because while I might open one up and see how it smells it is highly unlikely I will attempt to ingest 47 year old home-canned peaches. Although, I must admit, I am tempted to do so….just a little tiny nibble to taste.
The interesting thing about all this is that, theoretically, properly canned food will last a lifetime. I’ve no doubt the nutritional value of the peaches and pears is virtually nil but its still calories to the hungry. While I have some serious(!) reservations about consuming the 47 year old produce, I wouldnt have any concerns if it were, say, five yeras old or so. Still, good to know that stuff can be preserved for that long a period of time.