I like to try the different hacks I find online just to see if they will really work. Sometimes — like when I used an empty plastic bottle to separate a yolk from an egg — it works.

Other times, like when I tried to use baking soda and peroxide to make my baking pans shine, I find out that just because people pin something on Pinterest over and over doesn’t mean it actually works.

There’s a hack that’s been making the social media rounds recently that I decided to try. The Crazy Russian Hacker posted this How to Open a Can without a Can Opener, and it has almost 3.5 million views on YouTube.

I decided to give this a try. I took a can of pumpkin out to my backyard. You can see the unopened can in the photo above. I turned it upside down on the some very bumpy concrete and proceeded to scrape. And scrape. And scrape. The bumpiness of the concrete made it difficult, and I actually started to scrape off some of the small stones. I moved to a flatter concrete on an old slab in the yard that used to hold a shed.

I didn’t think it was working, but I had no idea how long to scrape because in the video, they cut away from the beginning of scraping to the end of scraping and said “once you've scraped a lot.” I wasn’t sure how long "a lot" was.

In my case, “a lot” was about four minutes of constant scraping back and forth. Pushing in the sides of the can didn’t pop the lid for me, but I was able to push the lid into the can. If I ever have to do it again, I’ll be sure to push more gently. A lot of pumpkin flew out of the can when I pushed.

can of pumpkin opened through scraping on concrete

It was a good workout for my arms. In the event that I forget my can opener during a zombie apocalypse but I’m fortunate to come across a stash of canned goods, I’ll be able to both eat and get Michelle Obama arms.

So there you have it. It’s a fact: opening a can by scraping the top against concrete is a reliable method, and it doesn’t take all that long. 

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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Fact or fiction: Scraping a can on concrete opens it
If you’re caught without a can opener during the apocalypse, will scraping the top of a can across concrete get the lid open?