The Best Use for Your Can Opener Has Nothing to Do with Opening Cans

updated Feb 8, 2021
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

A hand-held can opener is a thing that I own because one must have a can opener. But can openers are generally unattractive and weirdly bulky (even this very minimalist one) and don’t really want to be in my drawer or in my utensil crock. In short, this unitasker really annoys me if I think about it for too long. At least it did — until I discovered this brilliant extra use for it.

Use Your Can Opener to Open Plastic Clamshell Packages

If a can opener annoys me, you can imagine that I also have thoughts on plastic clamshell packages. Why do they make those things SO HARD TO OPEN? Scissors aren’t always sharp enough, using a chef’s knife (which I have done) seems dangerous, and ripping them open with bare hands is only an option if you are the Hulk. (I am not.)

Considering the number of injuries I’ve suffered at the hands of these packages, I really wonder how they’re still around. And yet, they are.

But you can officially be slightly less annoyed by clamshell packages because now you know, because I know, that you can use your hand-operated can opener to solve all your clamshell woes.

Here’s how.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

Insert one edge of the package (bottom, top, side — you choose!) into your hand-held can opener, just like you’d do to open a can. Turn the can opener until you reach the end of that edge.

At this point, you may be able to remove the item from inside the package. But, knowing clamshell packages, I’d guess not.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

If not, just repeat the process with the next edge of the package, and the next, until your item is freed from the clamshell claws.

This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: The Best Use for Your Can Opener Has Nothing to Do with Opening Cans