Perfect for making fall favorites like pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread or adding some flair to your breakfast oats, waffles or morning smoothie, canned pumpkin is simply the vegetable in a pureed form. While buying pumpkin in its canned form is a great alternative because of the longer shelf life, that can in your pantry won't last forever. Look for these signs to make sure your gourd is good.

canned pumpkin

Typical Shelf Life

Canned foods retain their nutrients for about two years after the date they're processed. For best quality, the Canned Food Alliance recommends consuming canned goods within this two-year time frame, but they should be safe to eat within five years of the processing date as long as the cans are stored in a cool, dry place. Once opened, canned pumpkin will last about three days.

Check the Date

Canned goods usually have a "best before" or "use by" date or date code to help determine their total shelf life. This is usually printed on the can itself but occasionally can be found on the label. Have a look at this date when you grab that can of pumpkin from your pantry to make sure it hasn't expired.

Can Problems

If your canned pumpkin is bulging, rusted, has holes or large dents, you should throw it out immediately. Cans of food that have been compromised in any way may contain dangerous bacteria so it's important that you not taste test the product. Instead, toss it right in the trash and open up a fresh, intact can before you get cooking.