Cranberry Recipes From The Pinelands Folklife Project

The Cranberry is a slender, trailing North American shrub growing in damp ground and bearing tart red berries. Along with blueberries and Concord grapes and cranberries are fruits unique to the North American continent. The use of cranberries as a food staple in Americans’ diets becomes more secure with each generation. In fact, the best cranberry recipe became popular and established in American culture long before the arrival of the Pilgrims to Plymouth Rock in 1742.

Cranberry Harvesters In New Jersey

The Wampanoag tribe, which inhabited portions of Massachusetts, harvested many wild foods, especially berries such as strawberries, blueberries, elderberries, and, in the autumn, the ruby-red wild cranberries. In areas of New Jersey, the Lcnni -Lenape tribe of Indians called them the “bitterberry.” One New Jersey chief, known as Pakimimzen (“cranberry eater”), distributed cranberries at tribal feasts and considered them a symbol of peace.

Quotes From The Definitive Cranberry Recipe Book

In The Cranberry Book ( 1883), Elizabeth Gemming reports that:

Wild cranberries ripened in abundance that they were eale” fresh, ground or mashed with cornmeal and baked into bread, and stored both fresh in spring water and dried. Indians mixed dried, mashed cranberries with smoked venison (deer meat), fat, and wild onions, boiled the mixture, pounded it to a pulp, formed cakes, and dried them on rocks in the sun. This was pemmican, a survival nation carried on long journeys by natives and later by white settlers. The Menomini oj Wisconsin, where wild cranberries grew in abundance, sweetened them with maple sugar, while eastern Indians mixed the mouth-puckering sour berries with precious wild honey.

Indians dyed rugs and blankets with cranberry juice and used cranberries for healing. They made poultices from unripe cranberries, roasted and mashed, to cure scrapes and sores, especially wounds from poisoned arrows. They believed in the berry’s special power to calm the nerves. Today, we know that cranberry contains a natural antibiotic. Doctors often recommend cranberry juice to people with bladder infections.

The Cultivation Of The New Jersey Pine Barrens

Cranberries are grown in fields known as “bogs.” Plants under cultivation have definite needs: a firm base of acid soil and peat, a dependable supply of fresh water, and sand. They like a fairly long growing season without severe frosts. The ocean-tempered climate of Cape Cod is ideal. The Pine Barrens of New Jersey and portions of Wisconsin and Oregon are also well suited to cranberry cultivation. Current techniques allow it to drain and channel natural wet bogs and convert them into cranberry-growing areas.

The early settlers in America were traditionally protective of the many edible and native plants, and the cranberry was one of the abundant and popular autumn fruits. In Provincetown, a law was passed in 1773 prohibiting the harvesting of cranberries before September 20th. Several years later, in 1789, the residents of southern New Jersey enacted a law prohibiting the picking of cranberries before October 10th, subject to appropriate fines.

During the early part of this century, the favorite harvesting tool was the wooden hand scoop. Which replaced the original hand-picking method. The picturesque hand rakes and scoops remained in use until fairly recently, most notably in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. They are now highly prized as antiques. Today, most of the nation’s cranberries are harvested by machine, reflecting the scarcity and high labor cost.

Work Of The Pinelands Folklife Project

Throughout the Pinelands Folklife Project, field workers collected a lot of material about the cranberry in writing, on tape, and in photographs. New cranberry recipes are part of the everyday life of many Pinelands residents. This publication presents a selection of various cranberry recipes that have been “kitchen tested” for generations. The cranberry has always been a necessary ingredient at Thanksgiving dinner and frequently at Christmas. It now appears regularly as a gourmet ingredient for desserts, bread, sauces, and preserves. Cranberries freeze well, thus making year-round use possible. The color red in the cranberry is often used for decoration and is especially symbolic of early American holiday festivities. This book is offered in tribute to the cranberry growers and pickers. Those who have provided us with a sampling of home-tested cranberry recipes.

Cranberry Recipes From The Pinelands Folklife Project

This will keep a long time in the refrigerator.

Cranberry Relish

  • 1 quart cranberries
  • 1 lemon (seeded)
  • 2 whole oranges (seeded)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup ground or chopped nuts
  • 2 whole apples (cored but not peeled)

Put cranberries, oranges, apples, and lemons through a grinder. Stir in sugar, then the nuts.

Very good with meat.

Spiced Cranberry Relish

  • 1 orange, unpeeled, no seeds
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 cups washed cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice

Put oranges and cranberries through the food grinder. Add sugar, orange juice, mustard, and allspice. Let stand 24 hours. This cranberry recipe makes 2 cups.

Cranberry Nut Bread I

  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/2 cup orange juice

Mix flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Beat 2 eggs in a large bowl until fo my. Add sugar slowly and beat until thick and light. Combine orange juice and water to make 3/4 cup of liquid. Stir dry ingredients into the egg mixture alternately with orange juice. Blend well after each addition. Stir in cranberries and nuts. Spoon into greased 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan and bake in a preheated 325-degree oven for one hour.

This is good served with cream cheese.

Cranberry Nut Bread II

  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup fresh whole cranberries, chopped
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons melted shortening

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together dry ingredients. Add nuts and cranberries. Then, stir in beaten eggs and shortening until just blended. Pour into greased 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until done when tested with a toothpick.

Cranberry-Mincemeat Sweet Sour Bread

  • 2 cups whole cranberries
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seed oil
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup mincemeat
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar (honey or brown sugar)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pans. Beat eggs, add oil and honey, and mix. Add dry ingredients little by little, stirring as you go. As the mixture becomes toothpick, add a small amount of milk. Keep batter medium thick, so your spoon goes through well for mixing purposes but not freely. Add mincemeat and mix through. Then add cranberries and mix through. If the batter is too thick, add the milk you need to make it seem right. Ladle batter into two loaf pans, filling about halfway. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour. Test for doneness with a butter knife. Remember that moisture has been released inside by the popping of your cranberries. It may be eaten hot, but it does not slice as well. Freezes well; slice before the loaf is defrosted for uniform slices.

Glazed Stuffed Baked Apples

  • Raisins
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • Nuts
  • 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
  • Brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup Fresh Cranberries
  • Butter
  • 3/4 Cup Water

Core apples to 1/2 inch from the bottom. Use a mixture of 1 part butter, 2 parts brown sugar, and a liberal amount of nuts and raisins to make a thick mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until fork tender. Combine sugar, cornstarch, cranberries, and water. Cook in a saucepan until skins pop. Pour over apples and broil for 3 or 4 minutes until glazed.

Cherried Cranberries

  • 4 cups washed whole cranberries
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • I cup water

Mix the ingredients of this cranberry recipe and boil them slowly for about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. Makes two pints. It can be sealed or kept in the refrigerator for quite a long time. Nice for glaze on ham.

Cranberry Mold

  • 2 cups cranberries
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar

Boil three ingredients together for 5 minutes. While still hot, add 1 three-ounce package of red jello and 1 envelope of Knox gelatin mixed in 2 tablespoons of cold water. Stir well until all is dissolved. When cool, add 1 cup of chopped apples, 1/2 cup of chopped nuts, 1/2 cup of chopped celery. Pour in 1-quart mold and chill until set.

Cranberry Pie

  • 1 quart cranberries, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/3, cups sugar
  • Pastry for two-crust pie

Mix sugar and cornstarch. Add to cranberries and molasses. Pour into pastry-lined pan. Dot with butter and cover with top crust. Bake at 425 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Cranberry Nut Pie

  • 1 1/4 cups cranberries
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • I egg

Spread cranberries on the bottom of a buttered 9-inch pie pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar and nuts. Beat egg until thick. Gradually add granulated sugar. Beat until well blended. Add flour and butter, and beat well. Pour batter over cranberries and bake 45 minutes in a 325-degree oven.

Cranberry Refrigerator Cake

  • 2 cups chopped cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 large banana, diced
  • ¬†1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 2 cups crushed vanilla wafers
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup margarine or butter

Mix chopped cranberries and granulated sugar; set aside. Mix crushed vanilla wafers with melted butter. Place 1/2 wafers in the bottom of a 9-inch glass deep-dish pie plate. Press in place. Cream margarine and confectioner’s sugar. Add eggs and beat well. Spread this mixture over cookie crumbs. Top this cranberry recipe with layers of the cranberry and banana mixture. Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Whip the cream until peaks form and spread over the cranberries and nuts. Cover all with remaining crushed wafers and chill for at least 4 hours. It is best if chilled overnight.

Cranberry Cake

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2¬†teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 16-ounce can of whole cranberry sauce, drained
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts

Cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs and extract, and beat well. Sift dry ingredients. Add alternately to the shortening mixture with sour cream. Pour in a greased and floured tube pan. Swirl cranberries through the batter. (Note: shortening may be reduced to 1/2 cup and sour cream to 1 cup.) Sprinkle chopped nuts on top of the batter. Bake 55 minutes at 350 degrees.

Cranberry Fluff

  • I quart cranberries
  • I cup diced apple
  • 1/2 cup small marshmallow pieces
  • 2 cups sugar
  • I cup diced celery

Mix a nd let sta nd overni ght In rerrigerator. Before serving, fold in 1 1/2 cups of whipped cream. A cup of chopped nuts may be added at this time. It can be used for a relish or light dessert.

Mock Cherry Pie

  • 1 cup cranberries
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • pastry for two-crusts

Cut cranberries in half. Rinse several times to remove seeds. Rinse raisins in hot water. Drain. Mix the flour, sugar, and salt. Add cranberries, raisins, vanilla, and 1/2 cup boiling water. Place in pie crust. Add butter and top crust. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes.

Apple Cranberry Strudel

Butter and flour a 9 x 13 inch pan. Place peeled fruit of your choice (apples, peaches, blueberries, etc.) in the pan-in this case, apples and cranberries (more of the apples than the berries). Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with cinnamon. Dot with margarine or butter. Add topping (recipe follows).

Note: Large fruits like apples or peaches should be peeled and sliced. Berries should be left whole.


  1. 1 cup sugar (honey or brown
  2. 1 teaspoon baking powder sugar)
  3. 1 cup flour (1/2 cup white, 1/2 cup whole wheat)
  4. 1 egg
  5. 1 cup milk

Mix the topping ingredients, pour over the fruit, and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Test with the blade of a butter
knife for doneness. Let cool before cutting into portions. Use a spatula to place portions, fruit side up, on the serving platter.

Apple Cranberry Pie

Prepare crust and apples as you would for an apple pie, substituting 1 cup of whole cranberries for 1 cup of apples. (Similar substitutions can be made with fresh pears.) Drizzle fruit with honey, dot with margarine or butter, and sprinkle with cornstarch. Bake as usual for this apple cranberry recipe.

Cranberry Pie

  • 2 1/2 cups raw, chopped cranberries
  • 5 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4¬† teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cups blueberries
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • Pastry for two-crust pie

Mix berries. Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt and stir into berries. Spread into pastry-lined pan. Add top crust and bake at
400 degrees until juice bubbles and the crust is nicely browned.

Cranberry Wine

  • 4 quarts cranberries
  • 12 quarts boiling water
  • 7 cups sugar
  • 1 pound seeded raisins

Freeze cranberries for a week. Pour boiling water over the berries and let them stand for 24 hours. Strain through a coarse bag or cloth, squeezing to extract all possible juice. Add sugar and raisins. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 hour; skim. Cool to lukewarm. Add Y, cake yeast to each 8 quarts mixture. Let stand for about 2 weeks to ferment. Remove from crock and bottle. Keep several months in a cool place before using.

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