Why You Probably Won't Find Canned Broccoli At The Grocery Store

Canned green beans, canned corn, even canned potatoes — they're all right there, on the grocery store shelf. These are staple vegetables, and we're used to seeing them sold fresh, frozen, and canned at the grocery store, but there's one common veggie that's conspicuously absent in the canned goods section: broccoli.

A lot of people seem to hate broccoli, but when you use a good broccoli recipe to properly prepare it, it's at once sweet, vegetal, earthy, and downright delicious. So how come you never see canned broccoli at the grocery store?

Well, one of the things that has given broccoli such a bad rap over the years is that when it's overcooked, it can take on a sulphuric odor and flavor. That's because it's a cruciferous vegetable, like cabbage and cauliflower, and these veggies contain sulphuric compounds that break down when cooked, releasing stinky glucosinolates, per Kitchens HQ. Because canning vegetables requires the use of high heat, it's pretty much guaranteed that broccoli would get overcooked and have an unpleasant odor. But that's not the only reason why you never see canned broccoli at the grocery store.

Canned broccoli would be too mushy

There's another reason why you never see canned broccoli in stores, and if you've ever overcooked your broccoli, only to have the florets become mushy, tasteless, and gray, then you can probably guess what it is. After the high heat of the canning process, the broccoli florets would turn to mush, according to Mental Floss. That's why you tend to see firmer vegetables, like green beans, corn, and carrots canned, and not veggies like broccoli, peppers, or zucchini. 

Broccoli stems might be able to hold up in the heat (and are just as nutritious as the florets), but let's face it — no one's favorite part of broccoli is the stalks. That's why frozen broccoli cuts and whole heads of broccoli with the stalk attached are less expensive than frozen broccoli florets and fresh broccoli crowns.

There you have it: While broccoli is delicious when purchased fresh or frozen, canning the florets would ruin their flavor and texture, and even if you could can them properly, there isn't much of a market for broccoli stalks. And therefore, you'll probably never see canned broccoli at the grocery store.