Time to re-stock your pantry? Think outside the usual can aisle and consider sampling something more adventurous than chicken soup or creamed corn. For inspiration, here are 15 of the world's most unconventional canned foods.
Haggis, the national dish of Scotland, is made of sheep's "pluck"—the heart, liver, and lungs—minced with onion, oatmeal, spices, and suet (hard beef or mutton fat). Authentic versions of the savory pudding are illegal in the U.S., thanks to food safety regulations. But in other countries, haggis-hungry shoppers can purchase canned recipes if they don't feel like preparing and cooking it themselves.
2. REINDEER MEAT
Reindeer meat is a frequent component of traditional Scandinavian dishes and stews, so it’s no surprise that canned reindeer meatballs are available for purchase in countries like Norway and Finland.
3. CAMEL MEAT
Camels are highly valued in the Middle East, and not just for transport. The meat is considered a culinary delicacy, with the fatty hump being the most popular cut. "In Syria and Cairo there are specialist camel butchers, while in the Gulf, camel meat is eaten at parties and wedding receptions," food writer and chef Anissa Helou told The Guardian. Those without a butcher at their disposal can buy canned camel meat and make dishes like camel chili con carne, meatballs, and stews.
4. POTATO SALAD
Potato salad is typically associated with deli counters, but American food processor Seneca Foods Corporation also sells a canned version of German potato salad under their READ® Salads line.
5. CANNED WHOLE CHICKENS
Bumble Bee Foods is perhaps best known for producing items like canned tuna, but their products aren't limited to chicken of the sea: Their Sweet Sue line of canned and processed meats includes a canned whole chicken, fully cooked and sans giblets.
Trek'n Eat, a German company that sells ready-meals for outdoor enthusiasts and athletes, manufactures their own version of fast food: a shelf-stabilized cheeseburger in a can. To cook it, heat the can in water over a fire before opening it and chowing down.
7. HOT DOGS
Both Tulip Food, a subsidiary of Danish food processing company Danish Crown, and UK brand Ye Olde Oak sell canned hot dogs to customers who like their meat brined instead of grilled. Ye Olde Oak even sells Fiery Chili and BBQ-flavored options.
8. KANGAROO CHILI
Kangaroos are so plentiful in Australia that ecologists and landholders have urged Aussies to curb exploding marsupial populations by hunting them for their meat. As for non-hunters in America, they can sample the unusual game by ordering canned kangaroo chili from Dale's Wild West, a prepared-meat manufacturing company in Brighton, Colorado.
9. SQUID IN INK SAUCE
Squid in ink sauce is used in Italian dishes like spaghetti al nero di seppia, but those without access to fresh seafood can order canned versions of the undersea delicacy from Italian-American manufacturers like Vigo Foods.
10. DUCK CONFIT
Duck confit, a French dish made with a whole duck, can easily be made with reheated canned canard. These tinned fowls can be purchased online or from French or gourmet food stores.
11. ALLIGATOR MEAT
Alligator meat is consumed, cooked, and processed in southern states like Louisiana, but home chefs outside the Bayou can order canned alligator meat online.
Traditional tamales can be time-consuming to prepare, so manufacturers like Hormel Foods Corporation offer canned versions in chili sauce for lovers of Latin food who don't have six or so hours to assemble their dinner.
Adventurous foodies who like their meals on the wild side can order canned tarantula online from sellers like Thailand Unique. The fearsome spiders are considered a delicacy in countries like Cambodia, where they're eaten freshly fried from the wok.
14. SILKWORM PUPAE
Canned silkworm pupae is available in Asian specialty food stores, and is a popular snack in countries like Korea. Prepare it by first boiling and washing it, and then frying it with seasoning.
15. QUAIL EGGS
Quail eggs taste similar to chicken eggs, but are smaller, speckled, and have a larger yolk. They can be found at specialty or Asian grocery stores or ordered online, and can be boiled for bite-sized snacks or added as a garnish or topping to any food you typically prefer with a touch of egg.