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You're Not Imagining Things - Your Canned Cranberry Sauce Is Upside-Down

A can of Ocean Spray cranberry sauce
A can of Ocean Spray cranberry sauce - Gado/Getty Images

A holiday table has a lot of moving parts. From the main course to all the sides, there's quite a bit of cooking to do, which is why we love canned cranberry sauce so much. Between roasting a turkey or ham, mashing potatoes, and baking hot rolls, there's not a lot of time or energy left for making cranberry sauce from scratch. Plus, who doesn't love the classic, tart jelly that slides out of the can? In the United States, we consume a staggering 5,062,500 gallons of canned cranberry sauce just during the holiday season according to Ocean Spray, and the company makes 70 million cans of the stuff per year. There's a funny thing about those cans, though: they look like they are labeled upside down.

An inverted can is no accident, however. Ocean Spray adopted this unique storage technique with the rounded edge of the can on top to make it easier to get the sauce out of the can without having to scrape it out with a spoon. You just need to break the air vacuum that's inside the rounded edge. After all, what's the point of canned cranberry, a Thanksgiving staple, if you can't see the can ridges?

Read more: 13 Canned Foods You Should Avoid At The Grocery Store

It's All About Can Physics

Canned cranberry sauce cut in slices
Canned cranberry sauce cut in slices - Bhofack2/Getty Images

Upside-down cans of cranberry sauce might look a little out of place on grocery store shelves, but there's a method to Ocean Spray's madness. At some point in the early 2000s, the company figured out that if they designed the cans to be sold upside down it would leave a small vacuum bubble of air around the rounded edge. When you go to open the can to get the sauce out, all you need to do is give the can a good shake or slide a spatula around the sides to release the suction of the vacuum. When you break that seal, the cylinder of sauce will magically slide out all in one piece.

In a recent TikTok, a representative from the company breaks it down:

Prior to this can design, cranberry sauce lovers had some questionable methods to get the jiggly jelly out, including poking a hole in the bottom of the can to break the vacuum seal, or flipping the can over and cutting a hole with the can opener without completely taking the bottom off. And even then, there was always a chance that you'd end up smashing the cylinder of sauce and would need to scoop it out.

Squeeze The Can

Canned cranberry sauce
Canned cranberry sauce - Debbismirnoff/Getty Images

The upside down can design is not entirely foolproof, however, it's just more user friendly than older models. You still have to do a little coaxing to get the sweet stuff to come out.

"I always just Heinz 57 it. Jiggles its globby butt right out of the can," said one Redditor. Another added, "I just hold a butter knife at an angle between the cranberry sauce and the can and it slides right out."

The real flex is to get the jelly out of the can, intact, with no extra tools. The secret is to break the seal in the can by changing its shape.

"I just squeeze the can and break the suction (usually deforms the can slightly)," said another Redditor. The oblong shape of the can will allow air to get in, and your sauce will slide out. The only thing you'll need a knife for is cutting slices — but only if slices are allowed in your house. Some cranberry sauce lovers are strict traditionalists when it comes to preserving the can shape.

"THEY KNOW THAT WE LIKE THE CAN SHAPE??? This is why I love OceanSpray," said a commenter on TikTok after finding out that the company designed the can to preserve the tube of sauce.

Whatever method you use, be it jiggling, squeezing, or poking, just remember that those funny-looking upside-down cans are doing their best to keep your jelly intact, so don't scoop!

Read the original article on Daily Meal.