Tomatoes in Cans That Have Rusted Still Safe to Eat

Times Staff Writer

Question: We have several cans of tomatoes that have become rusted on both ends--not swollen, but rusted. Apparently, my storing them in a bath house was not a great idea. I was going to toss them out, but my husband insisted that I write to you because he and a neighbor think the contents are still safe to use. Would appreciate your help.

Answer: We checked with the Canned Food Information Council in Chicago and learned they agree with your husband and neighbor. As long as there is no damage to the seams and no leakage from the cans, the ingredients should still be safe to consume. In the future, however, it would be best to store canned goods in a place with less humidity.

Q: Do the new reduced-cholesterol eggs react the same as regular eggs in baking?

A: Yes, according to Helen Bauch, Food Technologist for the California Egg Commission in Upland, the reduced-cholesterol eggs are used exactly the same as regular eggs.


For those unfamiliar with the reduced-cholesterol eggs, Rosemary Farm, a Santa Maria-based firm has achieved a 50% reduction in the cholesterol content of eggs by providing hens a specially designed feed. The eggs contain approximately 125 milligrams per egg and are priced about 60 cents more per dozen, according to an Oct. 25 article in The Times.

Q: I would like to know how to make candied kumquats like you see at Christmas in fruit packs. I have a tree that is loaded with the fruit.

A: This recipe is adapted from “Fancy Pantry” (Workman Publishing: 1986) by Helen Witty.


2 pounds bright-skinned, firm kumquats

5 cups sugar

3 cups water

Superfine sugar, optional

Rinse kumquats and remove any stems. If skins have any small rusty spots, scrub with small stiff brush to remove as much of discoloration as possible.

Place kumquats in saucepan and add enough cold water to cover fruit by 1 inch. Bring to boil, partially cover pan, and simmer fruit 10 minutes. Drain kumquats in colander.

In same saucepan, combine sugar and water and bring to boil. Boil syrup 5 minutes, then add well-drained kumquats. Bring fruit just to boil over medium-high heat, then lower heat and simmer kumquats, uncovered, 10 minutes. Pour fruit and syrup into shallow bowl and let stand overnight, covered with cloth.

Return kumquats and syrup to saucepan, bring to boil and simmer 20 minutes, or until fruit is translucent and tender when tested with cake tester or thin skewer. If syrup should become very thick and may scorch before fruit is done, add small amount boiling water and continue cooking.

When kumquats are tender, remove pan from heat and cool fruit in syrup. Lift kumquats from syrup one at a time and arrange on wire rack set over baking sheet. Let drain and dry at room temperature until kumquats are no longer sticky to touch, from 1 to 2 hours to overnight, depending on level of humidity.

If weather is damp and fruit dries slowly, set rack in oven set at lowest or keep warm temperature and leave, with oven door ajar, until no longer sticky. Roll kumquats in superfine sugar and store in airtight container at room temperature. Roll again in superfine sugar just before serving. Makes 2 pounds.

Address questions on food preparation to You Asked About , Food Section, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053. Personal replies cannot be given.