Traditional Foods


Native Americans introduced cranberries to the colonists when they arrived to North America. They used cranberries in many dishes just like we do today. Native Americans also used cranberries for dying rugs or blankets, and as medicine for treating wounds and preventing illness. The Lenni-Lenape Indians of New Jersey called cranberry, pakim, meaning bitter berry. They also used cranberries as a symbol of peace and friendship.


Fresh cranberries are usually available in stores from October to December.

Choose berries that are bright in color with a smooth, glossy, firm skin.

Fresh cranberries have small air-filled pockets inside. This will cause the berry to bounce when dropped or float in water.

Cranberries are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. Studies have linked cranberries to urinary tract health and they may help protect against heart disease and some kinds of cancer.


Fresh cranberries can be stored in the fridge in their original package for two to four weeks.

Freeze fresh cranberries in plastic food storage bags for up to twelve months.


Sort fresh berries to remove stems and throw out any soft, wrinkled or damaged berries.

Rinse with cold water and drain well. If cranberries are frozen, no need to thaw before use; rinse in cold water and drain well.

Adapted from Murphy, H. (n.d.). Foods Indigenous to the Western Hemisphere. Retrieved July 30, 2020, from, Bristow, P. R., Caruso, F. L., & Oudemans, P. V. (n.d.). Cranberries: The Most Intriguing Native North American Fruit,, Harker, J., & Parry, D. (2018). History of the American Cranberry,, and

Diabetes is Not Our Destiny is funded by the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, SNAP. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.  Non-discrimination statement here.