There are some foods that are perfectly acceptable to can. Soup, for example. Ground coffee. Beans. Corn. You seal them in a can and they remain fresh and edible from here to eternity. And with advances in canning technology, you know it’s not going to take on a metallic flavor. So go ahead, crack open that can of beans and add it to your chili. What, did you expect that we’d really take the time to soak them overnight and cook them ourselves? But then there are foods that just should have never been canned. Like, ever. We’ve got 10 of them for you right here.
The advantages to canning goods are pretty obvious. A foodproduct can be made in a factory in 1978 and still be (marginally) edible 10 years later, should you be so inclined to eat it. Canned beer stays fresh and doesn’t get exposed to sunlight. Anchovies can be shipped over from Italy and they’ll taste just like they do in a Roman trattoria.
But some people get a little carried away.
For one, whoever decided that canning meat was a good idea, well, it wasn’t a good idea. Nobody should be so desperate for meat that you need to eatit out of a can. If you need to eat canned meat, maybe you should look elsewhere for a protein source. Canned meat is also about the most processed food in existence, packed with fat, sodium, and chemicals. In other words: not good eats. We can see how some people who grew up eating SPAM might enjoy it for the nostalgia factor, but c’mon, nobody needs to eat SPAM.
It seems like if it can be canned, is has been canned. Everything from giant insects to whole chickens, from cheeseburgers to cake has found its way into a can, and our society is worse off because of it.1
A year or so ago, a website called Dig Your Own Grave (appropriate) traveled to Germany and discovered the biggest atrocity in the history of canning: the cheeseburger in a can. They followed the directions on the can (boil the whole can for 10 minutes, remove, and eat), and actually ate the thing. The results were, unsurprisingly, disgusting.
Not only does this combine two canning sins (meat and baked goods), but it’s topped with what they describe as "fake vomit on one side and a giant scab on the other." Worst. Thing. Ever. Canned.2
For when you just have to eat a pig brain.3
Chicken in a Can
We saw this busted out in an episode of Chopped and it even made the judges gag. A huge can, with an entire, slimy, pallid, cooked chicken inside it. Nobody wants to eat chicken that badly.4
SPAM, corned beef, and their many brothers and sisters found their way into cans during a period in history when there were no other viable options. Today, there are other viable options. Choose them instead.5
Hey, it’s not easy to keep roasted scorpions fresh and crispy on their trek from the desert.