In 1855 the first can openers made their appearance in England and 3 years later in the United States. It was not until 1925 that the second wheel was added that you see on can openers today. Growing up we had a beat up can opener that I think my mother still had when I got married. Can openers have come a long way since the 70’s and there may be new options that you would like to give a try.
1. How does it work?
All can openers use a blade to cut the lid off so as to get to the contents inside.
2. Is it multi purpose?
Some are equipped with a bottle opener as well. But generally this is a one trick pony piece of equipment.
3. How much does it cost?
Prices range from $5 for a cheap traditional version to $50 for a Cuisinart.
The butterfly versions means that the handles are pulled apart and then squeezed together as they open the can.
While the first electric model was invented in 1931, they were not successful until 1956. Electric models have the added feature of a magnet that will hold the lid to the can to prevent it from falling into the food or cutting yourself to remove it. As you never know how dirty the lid is, I always wipe mine off before opening.
A newer option is the type that cuts the lid off where it was originally glued during processing. These types of can openers eliminate the sharp edges altogether and the lids will not fall into the can. These are now available on electric models as well as the hand crank.
Battery operated versons do the entire job for you. Push a button and it runs by itself.
A classic model developed during WWII is one you may have used while camping, it is perfect for placing in an emergency kit. It does require a little practice but it can’t be beat when you need to conserve space.
The church key was created to puncture holes in the can and is not commonly used today. They can be found attached to a butterfly opener for those who occasionally require one.
A very important consideration is how easily can you clean it. When I received an electric can opener as a wedding gift I loved it. Until I tipped it over one day and say the buildup around the blade. I pulled out an old toothbrush and started scrubbing but never was able to reach it all. Most models today have the top piece that is removable so you can access it much easier. It is something to remember to check for when choosing a can opener. Water leads to rust and so the dishwasher is a bad place to wash your can opener. It is best to rise it under the sink and wipe it dry. If you already have rust, brushing with vinegar might remove it.
5. How much space does it require?
Hand held varieties can go in the drawer but electric models generally need to sit on the counter. If you hate having the cord in the way, there are retractable cords available on some models. Other models are designed to hand under the cabinet so as to free up counter space.
6. Will I actually use it?
While some companies are moving towards the pull tab style of can that no longer needs a can opener, I have to say at some point you probably will need one if you plan on eating.
Arthritis and carpel tunnel make cooking a difficult task for many people. While the electric an opener makes some tasks easier, bottles are another story. Many companies have developed a variety of products to choose from.
The traditional can opener has a blade you rest on the lid and you must squeeze the handle while you crank a knob. I purchased one that lasted only a few years and you had to hold it just right to make it work. The Man got tired of it and spent about $20 on a new one that lasted maybe 6 months. Unfortunately you don’t know how well it will work until you buy it. So the key is to purchase one that has a warranty.