With the holidays quickly approaching, many Americans are already planning their Thanksgiving meals. But this year, there’s one traditional item you might want to leave off the menu altogether.
According to a new survey, cranberry sauce is Americans' least favorite Thanksgiving staple.
The Harris Poll surveyed over 2,000 Americans for Instacart and found that 29% of respondents said they really disliked the tart and tangy condiment, but still eat it anyway. Nearly half of respondents (46%) said they find canned cranberry sauce “disgusting.” Green bean casserole came in second place with 24% saying it was their least favorite dish, while 21% said pumpkin pie was the worst.
Nearly 20% of respondents actually said turkey was terrible. (Maybe they just haven't tried one of TODAY Food's fail-proof recipes for a juicy bird.)
Cranberry sauce might not be too popular among the majority of Americans, but TODAY's Hoda Kotb isn’t afraid to talk about her love for the sweet side. In fact, it’s actually her favorite dish.
“The kind I like … in the can. The roll that’s just like jelly and you cut it. Don’t give me spooned out. Cranberry sauce should be served (sliced),” she said.
In honor of Hoda’s love for the dish, Ocean Spray donated 500 pounds of cranberry sauce (about 50,000 cranberries) to Citymeals on Wheels in 2018.
While many people like to make their own sauce, plenty of holiday hosts, like Hoda, are still buying the stuff that comes in a can. The famous cranberry sauce log has been around since 1941 when lawyer-turned-cranberry bog owner Marcus L. Urann came up with the idea as a way to extend the short selling season, according to Smithsonian Magazine.
Before his creation, cranberries were available fresh for only two months each year. They’re typically harvested between mid-September and mid-November, making them perfect for the holiday season, but that was not viable for farmers to make a year-round income.
“Cranberries are picked during a six-week period,” Robert Cox, co-author of "Massachusetts Cranberry Culture: A History from Bog to Table," told Smithsonian Magazine. “Before canning technology, the product had to be consumed immediately and the rest of the year there was almost no market. Urann’s canned cranberry sauce and juice are revolutionary innovations because they produced a product with a shelf life of months and months instead of just days.”
After setting up cooking facilities at a packinghouse in Hanson, Massachusetts, Urann set out to create a way to sell cranberries all year, and canning was the perfect option.
Regardless of whether they love cranberry sauce or not, Americans consume 5,062,500 gallons of the jellied stuff every holiday season.
Each can contains 200 berries and gets its gel-like consistency from pectin, a natural setting agent found in many fruits. According to the Smithsonian, if you laid out all the cans of cranberry sauce consumed in a year from end to end, it would be 3,385 miles long. That's the length of 67,500 football fields.
And what’s more American than canned cranberry sauce and football on Thanksgiving Day?