The Reason You Never Find Broccoli In A Can

These days you can pretty much find anything in canned form. Not only are there tons of vegetables, soups, and sauces available, you can even get your hands on whole canned chicken — bones and all. One food that you'll never find in shelf-stable form, though, is broccoli. Despite being a common cooking ingredient, the vegetable is only sold fresh or frozen (via Mental Floss). This isn't an oversight by food distributors, but rather due to the fact that broccoli is impossible to can successfully. 

So why hasn't modern science perfected canned broccoli? It's because canned vegetables undergo two stages of intense heating. First, they get cooked to a temperature that's hot enough to remove any microorganisms, and afterward, they get packaged, sealed in the can, and heated once again with high-pressure steam that reaches 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Broccoli florets are too delicate to withstand such intense heat, and mushy broccoli isn't exactly something consumers find appetizing.

The texture of canned broccoli isn't the worst part

Not only would canned broccoli be unpleasant to eat, it wouldn't smell that great either. According to Reader's Digest, in addition to causing it to deteriorate, canning broccoli causes broccoli to develop both an off-putting odor and color. That's because broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, Miss Vickie explains. 

Cruciferous vegetables, unlike other types, are filled with higher amounts of sulfuric compounds. The hydrogen sulfides are activated during the cooking process, releasing a rotten egg smell. Because vegetables get cooked twice during the canning process, broccoli would therefore smell twice as pungent. The same hydrogen sulfide is also released when broccoli starts to rot, so if you've gotten a whiff of broccoli that has gone bad, that's exactly what you'd end up tasting if you opened up a can of broccoli. Thankfully you won't have to experience it since canned broccoli doesn't exist, but even if it did, it's safe to bet that not many people would be putting it in their shopping carts.