Ripley’s Guide To
This is Ripley’s Guide To Non-Perishables.
The Weirdest Non-Perishables
Based in Orlando, Florida, we recently had to stock up on emergency supplies at our world headquarters, but soup and beans don’t cut it for the Ripley’s pantry. To find the oddest non-perishables we could, we scoured the internet and decided to taste test them for the prepper who wants their emergency meal to be strange and exciting.
In what the can claims is “True Rocky Mountain Style”, this can of allegedly smoked rattlesnake comes packed in water and brown sugar—not exactly the garnish you’d expect to eat snake from Colorado in.
Despite some slight rust around the bottom of the can, we decided to tuck in. What we didn’t anticipate was the sheer number of bones in a seven-ounce can. The warning on the side to “remove bones before sampling” is pretty misleading, as there was no way we could remove all the bones, no matter how sticky we were willing to get. One part of the warning was helpful though, as we did only “sample” our smoked snake.
“A True Western Delicacy!”
At the bottom of about two inches of syrupy water, a skeletal serpent clung to the little bit of meat it had left. We might have thought the snake inside was still alive—when our opener punctured the can, we were met with an audible hiss as air was sucked inside the broken seal. We truly wondered how we were supposed to eat this “Western Delicacy” because it was mostly water—holding true to the sloppy sounds the can made when you shook it.
The taste wasn’t that remarkable, just very salty. Though the meat looked like dark chicken meat, it tasted like canned ham. The brown sugar taste was absent, but there was some smoke in the aftertaste, though it was hard to tell if you were smelling it or tasting it.
After our sweet-tasting snake, we wanted something salty to clear our palates. Cooked and dehydrated zebra tarantula was our next snack. The can weighed almost nothing, and—if shaken—you could hear the spider pieces bouncing around inside. One plus for the spider is its pull-ring lid. The rattlesnake required a can-opener.
Zebra tarantulas are native to Central America and grow to about six inches across. The one in our can was probably just three inches. We’re guessing it didn’t live the full 20 years females in the wild do.
Though we appreciated the pop-top, we were surprised to see the spider was mostly whole. Wrapped in a hair-filled zip-lock bag, we slipped our fingers hoping it wasn’t just playing dead. The mandibles of the zebra tarantula were still scary up close, so we decided just to eat the legs. Though the can advertised it was dusted with salt, we all felt it could use more. The legs were too dry to have much taste, so you really had to take your time chewing them to coax out the flavor.
These shelf-stable, alkalized and cooked duck eggs were probably the most curiously anticipated taste test at the office. Century eggs were traditionally soaked in alkaline clay, but now any number of methods are used to alkalize the eggs. As the caustic chemicals seep into the egg, the white turns brown, and the yolk turns a deep shade of green. Beautiful fern patterns etch themselves into the egg white as salt crystals form underneath the shell.
Historically eggs are coated in mud and rice husks to create a hard, dry crust, but ours came sealed in plastic. The box had clearly been opened before, with cut tape still intact, but someone deigned to stick a big piece of packing tape around the box to keep our eight eggs from spilling out.
There was a good mix of English and Chinese on the box, with text guaranteeing no refrigeration was need and that the eggs were “Ready to Eat.” Despite having the most suspect packaging, our century eggs were the only non-perishable we tested that included nutritional facts and contact information in case we needed more “safety information.” Each egg was individually wrapped in plastic, meaning you don’t have to eat eight green eggs at once if you’re hungry, but many of them were cracked.
The box directed us to peel and wash the eggs clean and add vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil to complete the flavor profile. Anticipating only eating these eggs in a survival situation, we eschewed these accouterments to taste the eggs simple and pure.
We cut into our eggs, and despite seeing runny yolks online—and on the box—ours were solid. The smell was really the worst part of these eggs. They reminded me of rotting clams or fishing bait. Once you got it in your mouth it pretty much tasted like a well salted boiled egg. The longer you chewed, the more time the heat of your mouth had to release the fishy flavor.
The unanimous loser in our test was the smoked snake. The smell alone disqualified it from being dependable as a food source. There was too much liquid, too many bones, and not enough meat. That, combined with the need to have a can-opener, ranked the rattlesnake last, and other Amazon reviewers seem to agree.
Our middle pick was the zebra tarantula. We didn’t expect it to come whole, and despite being brave eaters found it to be a little difficult to swallow. If you’re like us and can only eat the legs, this also makes the tarantula the most expensive non-perishable on our list, though we do appreciate the pop-top lid. As one reviewer put it, if you’re into eating spiders, this is for you.
The century eggs were an absolute black-horse winner in our test. Nobody expected green eggs to be the most palatable ration in our lineup. Though the smell is bad, the taste is tolerable if you can eat it fast enough. We also think the nutritional content of the eggs makes for much heartier survival food than either of our other picks. As per tradition, we put whatever leftovers we didn’t want in the break room, where every unwanted item seems to find a home.
We tested these options, so you didn’t have to, but if you’re brave or curious enough to try these non-perishables yourselves, be sure to tell us what you think of them in the comments!