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Everything You Want to Know About Cranberry Sauce

Here at Erudus, we’ve noticed a pattern that occurs when the Christmas rush begins… cranberry sauce rockets up the search lists to become the number one most searched for product in our Data Pool.

Cranberry sauce has become a staple at the Christmas dinner table, but more than that it’s a great addition to the kind of festive sandwiches, pies and other eat-to-go items that feature on many a Caterer’s December menu.

So with (fingers crossed) this being one of the most hectic times of year, we thought we’d gift you some time by explaining everything you need to know about cranberry sauce and its dietary and nutritional information right here, right now…

Does cranberry sauce contain any allergens?

That depends entirely on the variety.

Of the varieties in the Erudus Data Pool, there are some that contain no allergens at all, and some that ‘May Contain’ several.

As with many products, a ‘May Contain’ Nuts declaration can often be displayed on some cranberry sauces from certain suppliers, as well as a couple with ‘May Contain’ Sulphur Dioxide on the label.

Some are on the even more extreme side of caution by declaring their cranberry sauce ‘May Contain’ Celery, Eggs , Soya, [Milk], Mustard, Sesame, and Cereals containing Gluten.

Most varieties of cranberry sauce are deemed suitable for Coeliacs, but there are several that do contain gluten so it's best to check the label.

There are some Cranberry sauce products which are Gluten Free, some which are suitable for Coeliacs, and even some that do not contain any of the 14 Major Food Allergens in any form. There are a number of manufacturers and suppliers which provide these to accommodate allergies.

Top Tip! Don't freeze cranberry sauce - doing so will alter and ruin the texture.

Is cranberry sauce suitable for vegans?

Generally, yes.

The main ingredients in cranberry sauce are cranberries, water, and sugar. Some producers also add additives and preservatives.

Very premium varieties may consist only of cranberries and demerara sugar.

However, a cranberry sauce may show up as not being suitable for Vegans if contains gelatin, or it ‘May Contain’ allergens such as Eggs and Milk.

Is cranberry sauce suitable for Kosher diets?

The majority of homemade cranberry sauce is kosher but not all mass-produced varieties are deemed so. Check dietary information and ingredients on Erudus to be sure.

Top tip! Add ingredients like orange zest, ginger, chilli, port, or cinnamon to the cranberry sauce you purchase to experiment. You might find a new signature sauce.

Where is cranberry sauce made?

Cranberries are grown in many places – famously they are one of only 3 fruits native to North American, and associated with the Northeast regions (like Massachusetts) and also Wisconsin. Canada and Chile also produce large amounts of cranberries.

Most UK-supplied cranberry sauce is also produced in the UK, though there are some varieties that are produced in places like Ireland or Poland.

Why is cranberry sauce eaten at Christmas?

Cranberry sauce goes all the way back to 1796 at least – it’s included in what’s thought to be the first cookbook by an American author – The Art of Cookery by Amelia Simmons.

Cranberries being native to Massachusetts, cranberry sauce has been a traditional accompaniment to Thanksgiving dinner for hundreds of years, though experts do not believe it was part of the original Pilgrims’ meal.

Turkey is also eaten at Thanksgiving, as it is in the UK at Christmas, and it’s likely this connection is the inspiration for cranberry sauce making the move to festive dinners this side of the Atlantic.

Even so, up until the end of the 20th-century cranberry sauce was still relatively rare at British Christmas lunches, and it’s only the 21st century that has seen it become a national favourite. Some credit this surge in popularity to English chef Delia Smith, whose 1994 book (and television series) Delia Smith’s Christmas featured a recipe for cranberry sauce.

Cranberry's surge in popularity can be attributed to chef Delia Smith

What are some other uses for cranberry sauce?

Cranberry sauce can be a versatile ingredient. Here are some of the additional ways you can make the most of it:

  • Use it alongside stuffing and turkey as a layer in a Christmas pie – it will keep the pie moist and complement the buttery pastry.
  • Use it instead of jam to give tarts, scones and Victoria sponge a festive twist.
  • Boil it down and serve with ice cream for a pudding that’s sharp and sweet and hot and cold.
  • Brush meat joints and cuts with cranberry sauce a few minutes before the end of their cooking time for a sweet, sticky and delicious glaze.
Use cranberry sauce as a layer in a christmas pie.

Cranberry Sauce on Erudus

Use the Erudus Allergen and Nutritional Data Search and Technical Search to find out everything you could wish to know about all the cranberry sauce products in our Data Pool, from waste packaging and net drained weight to suitability for vegan diets and Vitamin C content.