Why Canned Cranberry Is — And Always Will Be — Better Than Fresh


Every so often in our post-foodist world, I get this overwhelming urge to eat, well, shit. Not actual fecal matter (ew), but certainly foods a few higher-minded cohorts might readily scoff at. Let’s be real, preserved, pasteurized, processed to the point of being unrecognizable, “shit” was the kind of cuisine we were raised on — none of this locally sourced, organic, artisan-crafted bullshit, but fruit “salads” made with baby marshmallows and Cool Whip, and jellied cranberry served straight from the can. (Thanks mom.) It’s why, after years of trying gourmet frou frou versions like chili cranberry gastrique and cabernet cranberry chutneys, I’ll happily still let good old Ocean Spray take up precious space on my Thanksgiving platter.

Here’s why canned cranberry is — and always will be — better than fresh:


It’s nostalgic.

Like I said, canned is what I grew up with, and canned is what my children will grow up with. There is no joy quite like jiggling a perfectly intact cylinder of ribbed red gelatin onto a plate and then slicing it into individual rounds. (Mushed jelly, on the other hand, is for heathens. Totally defeats the purpose.)

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It’s sweeter.


Says Dr. Gourmet, cranberries are not naturally sweet, so while 100 grams of fresh ones contain only around 50 calories, their processed, saucy counterparts contain as much as 151 — holiday indulgence, indeed.


It’s actually cheaper than making it from scratch.


According to a 2011 article in Bon Appetit, store-bought cranberry sauce comes out to $1.26 per cup, while homemade costs $2.93 per cup. Why cause unnecessary suffering?

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It’s also just way easier to make (or, rather, not make.)


There’s already so much other work to be done on Thanksgiving, between thawing and frying the turkey, and dodging your relatives’ awkward dating questions. If everyone’s just as happy with canned as with homemade, why fuss?

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And it doesn’t mix with my mashed potatoes and turkey when I don’t want it to.


Thank you, you ruby-colored, self-containing goop!

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I mean, fresh cranberry isn’t bad . . .


At times it can even be delicious.

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Like here.


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And here.


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And it’s not like I’d eat canned cranberries any other day of the year — that’d just be weird.


(Leftover turkey sandwiches notwithstanding.)

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But I will always, always love the canned stuff.


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 And anyone who looks down on it is sorely missing out.


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So jiggle on, you beautiful burgundy bastard. Jiggle on.

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Here’s to 101 more jiggly years!

(Just because, fun fact: the first commercial canned cranberry was introduced in 1912.)

Lead Picthx Robert S. Donovan

By Dominique Zamora

Dominique would be a foodie if she had money to pay for food. For now, she gets by just looking at food photography, which results in at least one more starving journalism student every time Instagram breaks down.

15 replies on “Why Canned Cranberry Is — And Always Will Be — Better Than Fresh”

Good gawd, your post reminds me of when I went to have Thanksgiving dinner with my sister and her rich husband one year. No turkey (No turkey a la king! No turkey hash!) no mashed ‘taters, no stuffing, no green bean casserole, not even pumpkin pie – dinner consisted of grilled flank steak, shrimp cocktail, a variety of grilled vegetables, no effing bread and dessert was fresh fruit. Not to mention I was lectured on how milk consumed with a meal inhibits the digestion of crucial vitamins and minerals when I asked for a glass.

Now, while I’m not opposed to this kind of meal any other day of the year, it’s NOT what I wanted for Thanksgiving.

I have to say, I’m with you. Canned cranberry is THE BEST. When I was little my parents took us to Home Town Buffet and I saw slices of perfect cranberry at the salad bar. I loaded my plate up, so excited to revel in it’s gelatinous goodness. Until I put some in my mouth and realized they were beets. Worst. Day. Ever. Thanks for the link back on my cranberry tart!

We’re senior citizens and my husband and I have the best Thanksgiving of all. A turkey from Boston Market, homemade Stove Top stuffing, a jar of gravy and a can of cranberry sauce … all consumed in front of the TV with Fred Astaire movies. Then Sam eats a whole pumpkin pie (all by himself) for dessert with a can of Reddi Whip. I ask you … is this perfect, or what?

Completely agree with this entire article.

I love the canned cranberry… sauce? Can they really call it sauce? Anyway, whatever, it’s the best. And just for your culinary adventures, if you haven’t already gone there, cranberry sauce spread onto toasted bread before you add that leftover bird (and other desired ingredients) to make the ultimate turkey sandwich, is freaking fabulous.

I think you’re missing the point. However they made that crap 25 years ago is how I want it today. If that means sweetened with sweet corns squeezin’s, well that’s how I want it.

I have a confession…I get the whole berry sauce in a jar, and stir it up so you can’t tell it’s from the can….put it in a pretty dish with a fancy spoon and voila! ! Looks like the real thing

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