I have a can of ‘make your own marmalade’. It’s three years after its 'best before' date. Will it be safe to use?

  • 1
    Can you tell us more about the product? Perhaps share a photo?
    – Stephie
    Jan 27 at 14:34
  • Where does the "best before" date come from in a marmelade you made yourself?
    – njzk2
    Jan 28 at 18:20
  • @njzk2 - Not a marmalade they have made, but a can of Seville oranges already peeled and cut up so that you only have to cook them. Feb 3 at 14:11
  • @KateBunting why would anyone do that? Did peeling and cutting oranges became suddenly a mildly complex task?
    – njzk2
    Feb 3 at 22:25
  • Not 'suddenly' - canned Seville oranges have been on sale in the UK for many years. Fresh ones are only available for a short time and I suppose it is quite troublesome to prepare enough of them for a batch of marmalade. Feb 4 at 8:52

1 Answer 1


Canned foods should be stable for many years, and I've certainly used Ma Made brand well after its date. It is after all a best before (quality) and not a use by (safety) date.

However I've also rejected a tin only about a year out of date. It was slightly bulging and may have leaked (if not something sticky had got on the bottom edge somehow). When I opened it, to get rid of the contents, there was obviously excess pressure. It smelt slightly off, I think, but I didn't have a known good tin for comparison and the smell of Seville oranges is a bit unusual anyway. I've had similar with tinned tomatoes well past their date - my guess is that if there's a pinhole in the coating on the inside, acidic foods react with the tin.

So exercise a little caution, including when opening if in doubt.

  • 1
    I've had "neglected too long" canned mandarin oranges eat through the can. +1
    – Ecnerwal
    Jan 28 at 1:05

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