The cranberry is a fruit that’s native to the Americas (it’s one of the few fruits that is too). Indigenous peoples’ resourcefulness led them to use it in a myriad of ways hundreds of years ago. Here’s what the American Phytopathological Society says about it:
Although the native Americans did not cultivate it, they gathered berries and used them in pemmican, a mixture of dried meat or fish and berries that was pounded into a pulp, shaped into a cake and dried in the sun. They were the first to make it into a sweetened sauce using maple sugar. The berries were also eaten raw. Cranberries were used as a poultice for wounds and when it was mixed with cornmeal it was an excellent cure for blood poisoning. The juice was used as a dye to brighten the colors of their blankets and rugs .
Cranberries have been dubbed a “superfood” due to them being nutrient-rich. They offer a good amount of vitamins and they are high in antioxidants, which ward off cancers. They are also beneficial for urinary tract health because of the proanthocyanidins compound that prevents harmful bacteria from clinging to the bladder.
In popular American customs, cranberries are associated with Thanksgiving and have been a consistent hit its sauce form for dinners on the national holiday.
But it doesn’t only have to be consumed the fourth week of November either! Check out this twist on a brunch favorite by Chef Camerron Dangerfield of Atlanta, GA: Cranberry Chicken & Waffles (plus an Apple Cider Mimosa) below.
 “Cranberries: The Most Intriguing Native North American Fruit,” American Phytopathological Society.
 “What are Proanthocyanidins (PACs)?,” The Cranberry Institute.