Saturday, June 4, 2011


There are enough blogs out there telling us how extremely hot it has been in Merida, so I’ll let it suffice to say that it is “HELL-HOT”! Up until yesterday, Friday, there seemed to be no relief in sight. But alas! We finally got our first late afternoon shower! It cooled things down a bit, but then the devil reared its ugly head and the unrelenting sun made its appearance once again. And so the cycle will continue for the next few months.

Because of the extreme heat of summer, it is unsafe to store an excess amount of canned goods. Quite truthfully, I buy very few canned items anymore and opt for “fresh” whenever I can. That means shopping daily, or at least every other day, but that’s really OK by me! The primary reason for not wanting to store very many canned goods is the fact that the temperature in your cupboard will often equal or exceed the outside temperature. I know of no canned goods that are to be stored at room temperatures in excess of 90 or 100°F. I have lost many a good can of tomatoes and other items this way, including a can of tomato paste just the other day. You can always tell when the can is bad if it makes a popping sound when you open it and starts to bubble/gurgle up. Toss it!

It’s always so tempting to buy “more than one” when the item is on sale or sold in 6 packs at Costco or Sam’s Club. Even though I know better, I often fall victim. I love their brands of canned tomatoes but you can only buy them in 6 or 8 packs, and I often do, only to arrive home and suffer with buyer’s remorse thereafter.

If you live in this area, or other tropical-like area, it is time to inventory your cupboards and get rid of those canned goods that have been stored for a while. I do this on a regular basis to make sure nothing goes to waste. It is extremely dangerous to consume any canned product that has been around for an excessive amount of time. Botulism and salmonella are lurking inside of old, unused products. Serious side affects can take their toll. So, go check out your stash of goodies and anything that looks suspiciously old, use it if feasible, or toss it.

The heat is a killer of canned goods. Dry goods, if stored in air-tight containers, are a different story and as long as they are not exposed to direct sunlight, will last for quite awhile. The trick is to buy not what you “want”, but what you absolutely “need”. Because of the extreme heat we experience, many homes in the area have no doors on their cupboards. This is to accommodate air flow. Even some very expensive homes have open shelves, or “cupboardless kitchens”. If you do have doors or similar sealing devices on your kitchen cupboards, leave them cracked a bit to let some air get in there, otherwise your products, canned or boxed, will just sit in there and smolder in the heat of the day.

Now, I haven’t checked any of this with Snopes, but I did get this information several years ago from a friend of mine who was a doctor. So far, it has worked well for me except for those damn tomatoes I keep buying!


  1. Thanks for the information regarding canned goods, even though I'm not buying canned goods anymore.

    Well reading your informative blog I wondered, why not put your canned goods in the refrigerator?

  2. Just a note; the temperature achieved to "can" the food inside the cans in a pressure cooker far exceed what ambient temperatures that can be achieved and have humans remain conscious. Bulging, weeping, dented can goods should be safely discarded. It is extremely rare for a can to explode, all canned goods are stored in warehouses that are not climate controlled and are safe. I have been canning for decades and 106-115 degree (f) causing damage to the canned goods does not make sense to me!

  3. I was going to make a comment, but the previous comments threw me off a bit. Living in Mérida myself, I imagine we'd need extra refrigerators if we kept everything in there. We are all accustomed to using plenty of fresh foods that require refrigeration. My frig is always pretty full now. I use jars for dry goods to prevent bugs from taking over. Like you, I don't buy a lot of canned goods. When I do it's because I plan to use them for a recipe and the fresh ingredients weren't available.