What Happens If I Refrigerate Canned Food?

By LeafTV Editor

Many myths surround canned food storage but if you store cans in a cool, dry environment and treat leftovers from an opened can properly, you're quite safe consuming these foods. One of the benefits of canned foods is they do not need refrigeration to be safe to eat. If you do put them in the refrigerator unopened, nothing bad will happen. Do not store opened cans in the fridge.

Vegetables in cans
credit: Boarding1Now/iStock/GettyImages
What Happens If I Refrigerate Canned Food

Cans need to be stored in a clean, dry place between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. A refrigerator is colder and may affect the consistency of the food inside the can, but it won't change the food in any other way.

A can with bulges, leaks or dents cannot be saved by putting it in the refrigerator. It's likely the food inside has gone bad or been tainted with bacteria, so toss it.

Once opened, the food in the can is subject to spoilage. Storing leftover canned food in the refrigerator keeps it safe to eat for three to four days. Transfer the food to a plastic or glass container with a sealing lid to prevent the food from taking on a tinny taste. The metal from the can may transfer to the food more readily, so it's important to not store opened cans in the fridge.

Canned food should be used within a year of purchase. Some products, especially non-acidic ones, may last longer but the food's quality and taste may deteriorate. Rust on the can or temperatures greater than 100 F can seriously affect the food inside.