Cranberry Recipes for Thanksgiving

Try our recipes for this Thanksgiving staple, including spiced cranberry relish, cranberry cake, and apple-cranberry crunch.

  • 126-062-01-im1
    The great cranberry roundup at Cape Cod.

  • 126-062-01-im1

Before the Europeans stepped foot on North American soil, the Native American inhabitants of the continent were well versed in the harvesting and preparation of the cranberry. The round red berries grew wild in marshes and bogs along the East Coast. Although not unknown in England, cranberries were effectively introduced to the Pilgrims by the Native Americans, who used them for medicine and dyes as well as food. (The early settlers called the berries "crane berries," because the white blossom and stem resembled the head and neck of a crane.)

The Native Americans taught the Pilgrims to crush the berries with stones, combine them with dried meat and fat drippings and form small cakes out of the mixture. These cakes, called pemmican, kept well and were eaten throughout the winter.

Americans have been devising new cranberry recipes ever since. And in the state where the Pilgrims harvested berries growing abundantly in the wild, the fruit has evolved into a viable commercial crop. More than half of the cranberries eaten in the U.S. today are grown on Cape Cod. The cranberry is also an important crop in the northwestern states, New Jersey and Wisconsin.

Cranberries are grown in cooperation with nature, in a manner that our immigrant and Native American ancestors would recognize and applaud. Pesticide use is minimal; instead, geese weed the bogs and swallows harvest the unfriendly bugs. Some growers also place beehives near the bogs to promote pollination. The berries are proof that organic farming, like Thanksgiving, is a treasured part of our heritage.

Harvested in September, fresh berries are readily available throughout the country in the fall. The fruit will keep between four and eight weeks if refrigerated when bought. Like most berries, they should never be washed until just before using or they'll spoil.

One of my favorite cranberry recipes is a simple relish that beautifully shows off the meaty red fruit:

11/27/2019 5:58:03 PM

Can't wait to try the cranberry cake recipe! I make almost the identical recipe for relish; only differences are raspberry or strawberry gelatin instead of unflavored, and large can of drained mandarin orange segments instead of a fresh orange. It is DELICIOUS!!!

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

50 Years of Money-Saving Tips!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters