The Reason Why You Should NEVER Leave An Opened Can Of Food In The Fridge

Aitor Diago via Getty Images

For fellow bean lovers, let me start by saying this; this is not a health story.

Though some worry that some metallic elements from tin cans can leach into your food, Carl Batt, a professor of food microbiology at Cornell University, told Epicurious that potential can corrosion isn’t something to worry about.

So, as someone who’s had an opened can of chickpeas in my fridge for the last 18 hours, I can breathe a sigh of relief.

Instead, the issue comes from flavour changes that happen when the food in your opened can is allowed to sit out.

So, we thought we’d share why leaving opened tins of food in your fridge can ruin their flavour ― and what you can do about it.

Why does the flavour change?

Well, you know that metallic, tinny flavour your canned tomatoes sometimes have? Apparently, opening the can may intensify that ― and the acidity of foods determines its strength, too.

“Acidic contents can cause corrosion,” the USDA says. This likely only results in very small, gradual erosion ― but it can be more intense on the exposed, opened rim of your can once you’ve cracked your fave tin of beans open.

“High-acid foods may leach metal or metallic flavors from cans. You would not have this issue with a glass canning jar,” Michigan State University says.

And Katie Toulouse, communications manager for the Canned Food Alliance, agrees ― “It’s more about maintaining the quality and taste like you would for any other food you prepare,” she told Epicurious.

“If you’re making chicken, you’re not going to store it in the pan.“

So what should I do instead?

The answer is simple enough ― decant your beans into an airtight glass or another container for safe keeping, like you would with leftover curry or stew.

Ensure that the container is clean, and make sure the airtight seal is strong too ― oxygen is your enemy when it comes to keeping food fresh.

The USDA says that most refrigerated leftovers last for three to four days, so don’t leave them out for too long.

And please, please switch that half-eaten tin of beans out for another container.