The Real Reason Cranberry Sauce Is Canned Upside Down

While turkey might be the star of the show on Thanksgiving, no holiday dinner would be the same without its ensemble of supporting side dishes, which are in no way less delicious than the main course. While hearty stuffing and creamy mashed potatoes might be the most attention-getting sides, let's not be so quick to dismiss the less flashy, traditional Thanksgiving staple — cranberry sauce

It's pleasantly sweet, adds a nice pop of color to your plate, and, best of all, it takes almost no prep work at all. You simply have to take out the can opener, pop off the lid, plop it on your plate, and enjoy. But have you ever noticed something strange about the cans that cranberry sauce comes in? While most cans, as one would expect, open from the top, the lid on a cranberry sauce can is actually at the bottom, per Mental Floss. But while it might look silly having to turn the can upside down to open it, this is no packaging mistake.

The can design makes it easier to open

Cranberry sauce is canned and labelled upside down on purpose, and it is all because of science. The sauce is packed in a cylindrical can, with a rounded lip at the top and the sharper lid at the bottom, which is unlike pretty much all other canned items. But it turns out, this special design helps facilitate the removal of the can's contents. We all probably love the satisfying feeling of watching a perfect cylinder of cranberry sauce glide smoothly out of the can, and this is made possible because the design of the can creates a vacuum. 

The rounded top is actually filled with an air bubble that helps push the sauce out of the can once it is opened from the bottom, according to Delish. "The rounded end of the can is filled with an air bubble vacuum, which makes it easier to get the sauce out," an Ocean Spray representative explained. Once a knife is inserted into the side, the vacuum seal breaks, and the cranberry sauce slides out easily. So, the next time you flip your cranberry sauce can upside down to get at that festive cranberry goodness, you'll know that it wasn't simply a manufacturing error. It is all specially designed to help you enjoy the sweet seasonal sauce as quickly and easily as possible.