Love Cranberries without Added Sugar

Tam John, Integrative Wellness Leader and Nutritional Therapy Practitioner offers cranberry recipes and ideas without added sugar.

Photo by Jennifer Pallian on Unsplash


Behold the beautiful glossy scarlet red berry belonging to the same family as the blueberry. Cranberries grow in abundance in North America, cultivated in wetlands or bogs.

Cranberries are in peak season from October through December. Buying them fresh during this time provides the highest nutritional concentration. When the nutritional peak is high, so is the flavor.

Juice, sauce, jam and dried cranberries are the products most cranberries are delivered to consumers.

Freeze them in an airtight package to extend their life by a couple of months or even longer. If one has gone bad in the fresh bag, discard it to save the others from the same fate.

Due to the tart flavor of the cranberry most recipes and products have significant refined sugar. Few (if any) people need more refined sugar (over consumption of sugar degrades the immune system). You can reap the nutritional benefits of cranberries without the sugar.

Cranberry ideas and recipes without added sugar:

  1. Tam’s Smoothie with Cranberry & Coconut Milk. This is recipe # 1 in A Fresh Wellness Mindset. It is utterly delicious and satisfying!

  2. Raw. Yep bet that’s a new one for a lot of people. Pop just one berry and savor the flavor while your body soaks up the nutrients. You might be surprised when you reach for another and another fresh raw cranberry. Chances are you won’t over indulge, because your body signals you when it is satisfied with real food. And yes, your palate will enliven to this tasty treat.

  3. Dried. Add to your own concoction of trail mix with macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, pecans, carob chips and coconut flakes. Check the label to be sure you are getting a dried cranberry that is fruit juice sweetened.

  4. Juice, Unsweetened and just cranberry. Add a splash to your water or tea for a refreshing pick me up.

  5. Morning Oatmeal. Pop a few of those beauties in your morning oatmeal with a drizzle of maple syrup, nuts and hemp seeds.

  6. Baking. Substitute dried fruit juice sweetened cranberries for raisins in baked goods.

  7. Sauce. Substitute honey or maple syrup for the sugar in any recipe. Start with a little less of the honey or maple syrup and then play with the recipe for the right ratios. Note on honey, don’t bring it to a boil.

Martha Stewart has an amazing selection of cranberry recipes. Some you may choose to pare down the sugar or substitute honey or maple syrup.

Remember serving sizes matter. If you are indulging in sugar sweetened cranberries for festive occasions, be mindful of portion sizes. Most of the time, day in and out choose unsweetened cranberries and reap the nutritional zing.

Enjoy nutritional offerings of cranberries

According to Dr. Axe these are the six Top Benefits of Cranberries:

1.      Prevent and Treat Urinary Tract Infections

2.      Decrease Inflammation

3.      May Help Prevent Cancers

4.      Improve Immune Function

5.      Benefit the Digestive Tract

6.      Reduce Risk of Heart Disease

WebMD goes on to give cranberries SuperFood status, noting they are second only to blueberries in regard to antioxidant levels. These tart little cousins to the blueberry have lots of fiber, manganese, vitamins C, E, K and carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin).