How to Open a Can Without a Can Opener
And look clever!
Tins, cans, call them what you will, form the staples of a prepper’s larder. As a method of preserving foodstuffs, canning has been around since the early 1800s, and was developed by a French confectioner. However, although it was realized that cooking and sealing food inside an airtight container was the perfect method of increasing longevity, the reasons why weren’t known until Louis Pasteur discovered bacteria 50 years later.
In 1812, canning arrived in New York, with demand for easily preserved food requiring the building of the first US canning factory.
Depending on the contents, various methods of preservation are used, including sterilization, pasteurization, boiling, freezing and vacuum treatment. These coupled with the anaerobic container ensure that nasty organisms cannot exist, spoiling the can’s contents.
Inside the can, the food retains its nutritional value, and studies have shown that it contains as much dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals as fresh, or frozen food products, and in certain cases, more. For example, with contents that have been heated as a means of preservation, any fiber becomes more digestible, and therefore has higher nutritional benefits.
But the one thing that’s important to have on hand with cans around is a can opener.
Most multi-tools include one, but if you need to crack open a can without anything much around, just how do you do it?
There are several methods
Using a knife, chisel or another similar tool to open a can
- Place the can on a stable surface
- Hold the knife vertically against the inner edge of the lid. Ensure the knife is fully locked and fingers are out of the way.
- Lightly smack the back of the hand holding the knife with your other hand, driving the point through the lid.
- Repeat this around the lid at small intervals
- Lever the lid off
Using a spoon to open a can
- Holding the can firmly, position a metal spoon, rounded bowl facing out, vertically against the inner edge of the lid
- Rub the tip of the spoon left to right over the same small spot, on the inside edge of the lid.
- The spoon will begin to wear away at the metal can
- Carry on until you have broken through
- Repeat around the lid of the can, before prying off the loosened lid.
Using a flat rock to open a can
- Find a flat rock or piece of concrete with a rough surface
- Turn the can upside down
- Rub the can backwards and forwards against the stone, checking frequently that you haven’t broken through
- As soon as you see moisture, stop
- Pry open the can with a knife, spoon, chisel or something similar
All these methods are effective at opening cans, but it’s always a better idea to make sure your kit bag contains a can opener. For more handy can opening hacks, watch this: