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Should I escape the can? (Cranberry sauce)

I'm hosting Thanksgiving and making most of the food for the first time. Here's my dilemma I have an enormous crush on canned cranberry sauce : ) However I've ordered a fresh turkey from a local farm and most of the veg will be from my CSA. It seems kind of wrong to open an can when everything else is from scratch etc. Does anybody have a recipe that will remind me of the beloved can (chunky not the jelly)?

Thanks for any ideas.

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  1. I know you will get lots of great recipes. However, I would caution to buy a few back up cans. It is one of those iconic things like Hellman's / Best Food mayo or Heinz catsup where for some no other taste will substitute ... even better versions.

    And Thanksgiving is such a touchy holiday tied to generations of family memories. Why else would those god-awful green bean cassaroles or overly sweet yams with marshmallows grace too many tables. Remove them and you have ruined Thanksgiving for some.

    With Ocean Spray I went through my years of trying to avoid the HFCS and buying other brands as well as top-notch similar sauce at delis. I have waved the flag of defeat, and HFCS be dammned, I must have my Ocean Spray. I have come to enjoy a second dish of better cranberry sauce as well, but only if I have my Ocean Spray too.

    BTW, the can is smaller this year. The price is higher

    Ocean Spray - how trifling can you get?
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/665894

    11 Replies
      1. re: rworange

        I might have said the same thing in the past. but having been making the sauce for many years now I tried the can last year and it was really bad. In comparison to even the simplest recipe (the one on the cranberry bag) it tastes stale and pale.

        Cant see any reason to have the can except if you feel the need to be ironic.

        1. re: jen kalb

          Depends on the guests. If they are of the persuasion that it doesn't matter, you don't need canned.

          I eat some very good cranberry sauce every year which would annoy me otherwise if I didn't have the OS as well. Despite the HFCS it tastes of Thanksgiving past and reminds me of dinners with loved ones long gone. It is the taste of comfort and I just feel better having it.

          I still wish they would go back to sugar though. or put out a pricier version with sugar.

          1. re: rworange

            I was actually shocked at how bad it was the last time I tasted. Admittedly I grew up on home made versions and make them every year, but I had always been able to tolerate the canned stuff before.

            You point out a valid non-ironic context for eating it, which I hadnt thought of.

          2. re: jen kalb

            tastes metallic--at least it used to. Haven't had canned in 20 years or more.

            I heat fresh cranberries in a bit of orange juice, add some chopped orange rind, grated or chopped fresh ginger, light sprinkle of cinnamon and cloves, tiny pinch of salt and add honey to taste. Cook for about 10 minutes tops. Done.

            1. re: toodie jane

              Seriously, anyone considering adulterating cranberry sauce with anything but sugar lack the understanding of the appeal of straight-up cranberry sauce. It is like a serious martini drinker given one of those flavored drinks that pass themselves off as martinis.

              It is not that I don't appreciate fancy-dancy cranberry sauce ... but only because I can get it plaiin. Even a sprinkle of orange rind just ruins the virgin experience. Lots of people, myself included, hate cloves. I've only recently been able to tolerate tiny bits recently. Ginger ... cinnamon ... horrors.

          3. re: rworange

            Yup! Everybody has an iconic image of what it's supposed to be. For some it needs to be lovingly homemade. For some, if it doesn't slide on out of the can it simply isn't edible. I have both schools of thought in my family.

            I gave up having hurt feelings years ago. Fortunately, it only takes about 10 minutes to make my cranberry chutney and the ingredients are cheap. Meanwhile, so is canned Oceanspray and then everyone's happy.

            I think the Oceanspray chunky is pretty plain. I'd boil some berries in water until they pop. Start with about 3/4 cup of sugar to a 12 ounce bag of berries. Taste and see if you want more or if you want to add some grated orange peel. Then the Oceanspray is cooked quite a bit, I think, to break down more than I like in a fresh compote. I'd simmer for 15 minutes after the berries have all popped. If the consistency isn't right, I'd simmer longer. Probably best to make it a day or two in advance. It will keep well, the flavors will mellow and you'll have one less thing to do on T-day.

            I add half a chopped Granny Smith apple, a spoonful each of apple juice and orange juice concentrates, a handful of chopped pecans and a healthy splash of Grand Marnier in addition to the orange peel. I also put a 2" cinnamon stick in the boil and fish it out before turning the chutney into a dish or mold. Oh, I add a packet of gelatin bloomed in a 1/4 cup of water if I'm molding.

            1. re: rworange

              Bought a can of Ocean Spray Whole Cranberry Sauce today at Walmart. 14 oz can (seems smaller) for 88 cents.
              Will buy the Trader Joe's Fresh Cranberry Sauce next week.
              Got to have both.

              1. re: monku

                It is 14 oz this year

                Ocean Spray - how trifling can you get?
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/665894

                1. re: rworange

                  Having missed your other post I sensed it felt smaller and that's from not picking one up since last year.

                  1. re: rworange

                    With all this package shrinking it will be interesting to see what the average cost of the Thanksgiving meal will be for 2009.
                    The Costco fresh turkey I'm eyeing is still 89 cents/pound the same as last year.

              2. The recipe that Ocean Spray prints on the bag of fresh cranberries is pretty close to what you get from their can.

                1. At my house there are so many beautiful memories built around family/regional traditions..I would never dream of changing them...My youngest son LOVES Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce ~~ Come Hell or High Water it will be on my Thanksgiving table!! Period! ~~~ My wife also does something (fairly simple) with whole fresh cranberries...Really delicious...That will be on my table too!! So my idea is simple...Serve the canned Ocean Spray, and do something with whole berries too! What's really important is that you............

                  Have Fun and Enjoy!!!!

                  1. If you want it to taste like the canned stuff, just do a basic sauce with sugar and water - it comes out EXACTLY like the can except it's not in a can-shaped round.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Kajikit

                      Last year I tried to fool my guests by making the basic sauce with cranberries, sugar and water, and putting it in an empty Ocean Spray can. It doesn't get firm, it stays soft. The color is also redder than the canned stuff which is purple.

                      You can't fool 'em. Glad I kept the sauce from the can. I served both, guests ate both.

                      1. re: TrishUntrapped

                        >>> I tried to fool my guests by making the basic sauce with cranberries, sugar and water, and putting it in an empty Ocean Spray can

                        Too funny ... it's that twist of using the can

                        1. re: rworange

                          S'urprised the silicone mold people haven't made one for cranberry sauce in the shape of a can! you can get everything else now!

                    2. i have an easy one that's much better IMO than canned stuff... 2lbs cranberries, 1 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of grand marnier (orange liquer) with 1 orange (juice and zest). Pulse in food processor to your desired chunkiness. tastes very fresh

                      1. How about doctoring up the canned whole berry variety? For example, stir in some chopped orange or apple, add a splash of balsamic vinegar, add some mace or other spices.

                        1. Thanks for all the great tips. I'll buy a back up can and then try the basic bag recipe. I might leave out a few of the cranberries at first and add them later to up the texture and freshness. I'm glad some of you understand the OC attachment.

                          1. Mrs. O has for years insisted on making a big batch (two bags' worth) of whole-berry sauce. Every year about half of us would put a little on our plates, and sort of nibble at it... and every year there's be about a quart of it in the fridge until sometime around Easter, when I'd throw it out. Lat year, for the first time, we went cranberry-less...

                            Yesterday we were shopping for cheap Christmas decorations in the 99ยข-Only store, and took a swing through the food section to see what irresistible bargains we could find. At one point, without a word, she pulled a can of whole-berry cranberry sauce off the shelf and dropped it into the basket.

                            Peace on earth...

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Will Owen

                              I grind leftover c-sauce in the food processor and use it as jam. Good on cornbread!

                              1. re: toodie jane

                                THE BEST on the turkey leftover sandwiches too!

                                1. re: toodie jane

                                  Leftovers, as long as you do a non-savory version like most, are well-used in this apple-cranberry crumb pie, too (I use a homemade crust): http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                              2. Unless it is the jelly you are looking for, forget the cans. The recipe on the bag is so simple that my dogs can make it, and it is delicious. If you are afraid that there will be comparisons to the can, and it will not "measure up" (I have difficulty believing that the fresh would taste worse, but your guest may have strong opinions), try mixing in a little dash of Grand Marnier or Cointreau when it cools a bit. The orange flavor is slight, and it will make the recipe just different enough that no one will ask or compare it to the canned variety. If you want a non-alchohic version, grate in some orange rind while cooking. Go light.