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

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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:

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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.

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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.

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It's actually cheaper than making it from scratch.

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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.)

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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.

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

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

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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.

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(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

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