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Celebrating the Winter Season with Cranberry

Known as sassamanesh to the Wampanoag and the Algonquin, pakmintzen to the Delaware, and ibimi to the Pequot, the North American native cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon, Ericaceae) has been consumed as both food and drink, utilized in dyes for clothing, and taken as a medicine.1,2 Below are two recipes to enjoy during the winter season.

Hot Sassamanesh Drink1

2 cups cranberry juice

6 cups orange juice

1 stick cinnamon

10 whole cloves

Sugar, honey, alternative sweetener to taste

Orange slices and cinnamon sticks

In a large pot, combine cranberry juice, orange juice, cinnamon, cloves, and sugar/honey. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat, taste, and add more sweetener if needed. Garnish with orange slices. Stir and serve with a cinnamon stick. Note: There’s also a cranberry quick bread recipe on this website that sounds delicious.

Cranberry Chutney2

3 cups cranberries

12 firm apples, cored

2 sweet onions, sliced

1 cup golden raisins

2 tablespoons ground ginger

3/4 cup mint leaves, finely chopped

2 ounces chili peppers

4 cups apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons salt

1 pound dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons flour dissolved in 1/4 cup water

In a heavy stainless-steel pot, combine all ingredients except the cranberries and flour/water mixture. Simmer apples, onions, raisins, ginger, mint, chili peppers, vinegar, salt. and brown sugar over very low heat for 1/2 hour. Add the cranberries and flour/water mixture and simmer 5-10 minutes allowing the cranberries to pop and chutney to thicken. Allow the mixture to blend and thicken overnight. Pack chutney into jelly jars; yields about four pints.

Lori Glenn
HerbClip™ Managing Editor


1Carson D. Native cooking. Indian Country Today website. December 13, 2002. Updated September 12, 2018. Accessed December 8, 2021.

2Carson D. Native food – Cooking with the crimson-colored cranberry. Indian Country Today website. October 14, 2012. Updated September 13, 2018. Accessed December 8, 2021.