can it

I was having dinner with friends at a Thai restaurant the other night, and one person had ordered a dish (I forget what – maybe Pad Thai or something) that had a bunch of beansprouts heaped on top of it. Another friend then made a comment about having to buy canned beansprouts, which made me do an auditory double-take. You can buy canned beansprouts?

Apparently, yes, you can. Not even anywhere special – just your ordinary supermarket.

Having only ever seen beansprouts in two different forms my whole life – fresh and cooked – it took me a while to grasp the concept of canned beansprouts. I actually sat there as the conversation continued, trying to visualise a can of beansprouts (or, more specifically, opening a can to find preserved beansprouts inside).

Ok, I know that people will practically preserve anything in a can/tin (the strangest one I’ve heard about is probably tinned hamburger – because you want to be able to satisfy your burger cravings when you’re hiding away from bomb raids and zombie apocolypses) but… canned beansprouts? Are you serious? What’s next – canned lettuce? (If that already exists, please don’t tell me. I need to wrap my head around this first.)

This also reminded me of another conversation at work. It was lunchtime, so we were naturally talking about food. Someone must have been eating, like, an Asian stir fry or something because we got onto the topic of baby corn, and someone mentioned that they only like fresh baby corn, not the canned stuff.

You can buy fresh baby corn? As in, buy it like you’d buy normal corn – in the fruit and veg section of a supermarket?

At this point, I was doing the same thing I did for the canned beansprouts, but was instead trying to picture a gondola of fresh baby corn not in cans, in the fresh produce section of a supermarket, beside baby carrots and snowpeas and stuff (because that seems logical…)

My friend assured me that it is, in fact, “a thing” but not very common, which is probably why I’ve never seen it before. I’d never really thought about the harvesting and storage of baby corn before, but I’m pretty sure that somewhere in my mind, I didn’t think it was possible to sell fresh baby corn. The canned stuff was all I’d ever known, so my brain must have formulated the idea that baby corn spoils really quickly unless it’s canned.

Thankfully, my brain didn’t create similar theories for other canned foods. At least, I don’t think it did…

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