Thanksgiving Mystery Solved: Why Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce Labels Are Upside Down

by Liz Holland
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Whether you love it or hate it, cranberry sauce is a long-time conversation starter around the holiday season. This Thanksgiving, the controversial dish is certainly raising more eyebrows than normal for those who buy from popular brand Ocean Spray.

Packaging of Ocean Spray cranberry sauce features an upside down label, putting the can’s rounded edge on top. So, why is the sharp can lid on the bottom?

Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce Uses A Trick as Old as Time

After some investigation, it turns out this Thanksgiving mystery can be easily solved. According to a spokesperson, the label on the Ocean Spray cranberry sauce appearing upside down is an intentional choice. This choice stems not from the intention to be quirky or confusing, but for the purpose of functionality. 

A trick in use since the early 2000s, the can’s design makes it so the can is opened from the bottom. After using a can opener, this design allows the user to run a knife along the sides of the sauce. Since the can is ‘upside down’, the design allows for an air pocket to form at the top and makes breaking the vacuum with a knife possible.

This loosens the cranberry sauce, which then allows for the jellied treat to slide right out in one whole piece. Following this process with some precise slicing, you’re guaranteed to have a satisfying plate.

Sauce Options Can Shake Things Up

While canned cranberry sauce is a quick and easy option, some might be interested in making their own cranberry sauce this year. To make your own cranberry sauce you can combine equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan.

Upon bringing this mix to a boil, add cranberries. (12oz for 1 cup sugar/1cup water). Reduce heat and boil over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool at room temperature and refrigerate until ready to serve!

Whether you’re eating canned or homemade sauce this Thanksgiving, some of you might be wondering, “Okay, I’ve got my cranberry sauce. But what can I pair it with besides Turkey?” While the dish is a classic turkey addition, it’s also known to pair well with several cheeses. Popular choices include Brie and Gouda. 

You can also make your own whipped cream with cranberry sauce! Whip cream until stiff peaks form, and fold in with leftover cranberry sauce. Use this for topping sweet treats in your leftover catalog.

The dish is also known to pair well with any and all things sweet potato. Use as a glaze for a barbecue sandwich paired with sweet potato fries, add a slice to your favorite plant-based burger, or use as a direct topping with a baked sweet potato.

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