Welcome to Mythical Kitchen Picks, the series in which the culinary experts from Mythical Kitchen tell you all about their favorite foods and ingredients. Since Thanksgiving (aka the biggest grocery store-centric holiday of the year) is just around the corner, we asked the Mythical Kitchen team for their top time-saving products for prepping Thanksgiving dinner. Today, Lily Cousins is throwing down the gauntlet and declaring one brand of canned cranberry sauce to be the end all, be all.
Lily’s Thanksgiving Pick: Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce
I don’t know how long this stuff’s been around, but I gotta have Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce on my T-Giving table every year. I will admit I have some nostalgic feelings about this canned, gelatinous “sauce,” and if you didn’t grow up with it, I get why you think you can do without. If you’re that person, you’re probably that family member who tries to make homemade cranberry sauce with whole chunks of cranberry and a random, giant rosemary sprig on top for garnish, but let’s at least have a discussion before you exit out of the page. Let’s start with how extremely important cranberry sauce is on turkey day. It honestly could be the most important side and there is science behind it.
Your buttery potatoes, your turkey and gravy, your stuffing, your dinner rolls, and your green bean casserole are salty and savory. What is cranberry sauce? It’s acidic, it’s tart. It’s really the only thing on the table that’s breaking up all the fat and salt you’re eating.
I think of cranberry sauce like an aperitif, which is typically an alcoholic beverage that you drink before a meal. It’s supposed to wake up your taste buds and give you an appetite. If you’ve ever had Aperol or Campari, it tastes sweet, but mostly bitter. It’s nice combined with Champagne or Prosecco, which is acidic. Cranberry sauce is all of those things in one.
Okay, so now that Dr. Lily Science has explained the importance of cranberry sauce, you’re like, wouldn’t homemade be better? NO. There’s something about the consistency of the OG Ocean Spray canned stuff that makes it perfect. It’s smooth and almost like a paste (we love food pastes in the Mythical Kitchen). I don’t want to be biting into whole cranberries while I’m eating my mashed potatoes. It’s overpowering and honestly a little aggressive. Save yourself some time, dump out a can of the good stuff, and slice that baby up with a butter knife. Happy Thanksgiving, people.
Buy from Walmart
(Respectfully, Lily, we disagree. Ocean Spray is good—but it isn’t the best canned cranberry sauce. Check out our ranking of the best canned cranberry sauce to find out which brand we thought took the crown.)