Did some cooking last night and needed a can of crushed tomatoes. Okay, no problem….I know I’ve got at least a dozen on the shelf in storage. I pull a can off the rack and read the datestamp on it. 2007. Meh, thats not bad. However, I do notice that the lid of the can is a bit convex. Odd. I flip the can over and check the other end…also slightly convex. Hmmm. Fingertip pressure causes the lid to flex. Ok, thats not good. Take it to the kitchen, whip out the can opener and the moment the can is pierced a jet of tomato liquid shoots out. Definitely not good.
As I’m sure you know, one of the signs of spoiled canned food is a bulging can. The bulging on this can was slight, but noticeable. The real clincher was the stuff squirting out once the can was opened…pressure buildup in the can is a dead giveaway. Out of curiosity I stirred up the contents of the can looking for any obvious signs of spoilage. Didnt see any and everything smelled the way it was supposed to. But, there is no way I’m taking a chance on food poisoning over a $2 can of crushed tomatoes. So, out they went. I retrieved another can of crushed tomatoes and carefully examined the lid…slightly concave..good, good. Checked all the other cans and they checked out fine.
Not sure why that one can decided to go south on me. Storage conditions were optimal, can integrity appeared fine, and there didnt seem to be any other possible reasons for the can failing. It just did. Most likely a flaw at the time of packaging/processing.
Moral of the story: bulged cans are a sign that something is wrong. It isn’t worth the headache (and hours of chills and vomiting) to save $2 when you should just really throw the damn thing out. Even if its a false alarm and the contents seem fine, why take that chance? So, always a good idea to carefully examine a can before you open it to make sure that things seem okay.