Thanksgiving Facts: Cranberries – To Can Or Can Not?

The most traditional Turkey Feast Side: Cranberries. Sweet and tart, crimson red; a perfect counterpoint to the rest of the meal. But the Cranberry has spawned a generations-long debate over what kind to have and how to serve it…

Cranberry Sauce - © 023 Instacart

The Harris Poll on Thanksgiving Dinner commissioned by Instacart has some interesting things to say about the tradition…

Cranberry Sauce demand soars

“Despite canned Cranberry Sauce being so controversial and a hot topic at many Thanksgiving dinner tables across the country, Instacart purchase data shows that sales for the Thanksgiving staple have increased by 32 percent over the past two years,” said Instacart’s Trends Expert Laurentia Romaniuk.

“There are different reasons why consumers may prefer canned Cranberry Sauce including tradition, flavor, nostalgia, texture, convenience, or the fact that it can be served on a dish in the shape of a can, which adds an element of levity to the meal.”

My take: I wouldn’t go nearly as far as Romaniuk, to comment on the socio-cultural significance of the shape of the Cranberry Sauce. But I guess she thought that was a nice touch. Nice but unnecessary. As they say down South, “Isn’t that just precious!”

In fact, the survey notes: Nearly 7 in 10 (68 percent) prefer to eat it in the shape of the can, while just 27 percent prefer it mashed up so it looks homemade.

America’s Cranberry Preferences

The preference for canned versus home made Cranberry Sauce is about evenly split:

  • 37 percent prefer homemade cranberry sauce
  • 35 percent prefer canned cranberry sauce
  • 21 percent do not eat cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving
  • 3 percent have never tried it

My take:  There are folks who enjoy the traditional Thanksgiving Turkey Feast who’ve never tried Cranberries? I have a hard time processing that. Cranberries are synonymous with Turkey – at least for me.

Another point to ponder: The Harris Poll did not differentiate between Whole Cranberry Sauce and Cranberry Jelly. I’ve found, over the years, that folks can be bitterly divided over which of those options to choose.

My contribution to the chaos

I have previously posted my family recipe for homemade Cranberry Sauce. And I have also shared my late, great Step Dad’s family recipe for Cranberry Relish. (see photo, top of page.)

If you’re among the silent majority for whom traditional forms of cranberry condiments are getting old… Try mine!

~Maggie J.