Health Benefits & Recipes
A’io were used as both a food and a medicine by First Nation peoples. They would gather the a’io and use it for food, often mixing it with dried meat, pounding the mixture into a pulp called pemmican. They also ate the berries raw or in a sauce, sweetened with maple syrup. A’io were also used as a poultice for wounds. Mixing the berries with cornmeal and applying it to a wound could cure blood poisoning. The a’io was used also a dye to brighten fabrics made by the First Nation peoples. Early settlers used a’io to prevent scurvy as the fresh fruit does contain vitamin C.
It is interesting that a’io health benefits, known by First Nation peoples, have been proven by western science. Unique, wild and natural by habitat, cranberries are rich in phyto-nutrients (naturally derived plant compounds), particularly proanthocyanidin antioxidants, which are essential for all-round wellness. The berries are indeed containing numerous chemical substances that may offer protection from tooth cavities, urinary tract infection, and inflammatory diseases.
A’io season generally lasts from October until December. The fruit is small, round, red color berry. Each berry features four centrally situated tiny seeds enclosed inside capsules. The berry is very acidic in taste, having pH in the range of 2.3 to 2.5.
Enjoy some of our favorite recipes donated by our very own Wahta Mohawk members.
Easy Cranberry Pie
- 2 cups fresh cranberries
- ½ cup flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons melted butter
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
- 1-8 or 9 inch regular frozen pie shell, thawed
- 1 egg
- ½ cup sugar
Spread the berries over the pie shell bottom and sprinkle with the sugar and nuts. Set aside. Beat the egg well, add melted butter and flour, stirring until smooth. Pour the batter over the cranberries, and use a knife or spatula to spread it evenly across the pie. Bake at 350’ for about 45-55 mins or until the crust is golden brown. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, or cool and eat later.
A favorite of
Susie (Karen) Commandant
Senior Administrator of Wahta Mohawks
- Cranberries, approximately 1 ½ cups
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¾ cup flour
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
Cover the bottom of a greased 8 inch square pan with cranberries. Cream the butter, add brown sugar, and mix well. Add flour and spices so that a crumbly mixture results. Sprinkle this over the fruit and bake in oven at 350’ for 40-45 mins or until the fruit is done. Serve plain or with whipped cream.
A recipe of
Wahta Community Member
Cranberry Sunflower Seed Cake
- *1 1/3 cups brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- ** 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup salted sunflower seeds
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 cups chopped cranberries
- 2 cups sliced apples
If using honey and orange juice concentrate, whip at high speeds for 10 minutes or until it turns white and opaque. Cream together oil and sugar or whipped honey. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well. Stir together the dry ingredients and add to the first mixture.
Blend well. Add in cranberries, apples and nuts. Bake in a well-greased 9 x 13 inch pan, 350’ oven, for 40-50 mins.
* Instead of sugar, use 1 cup of honey with 2 tablespoons of orange juice concentrate
** The flour can be ½ whole wheat and ½ pastry flour
From the files of Iroquois Cranberry Growers
Cranberry Pumpkin Muffins
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup of oil
- 1 cup chopped cranberries
- ¼ cup raisins
- ¼ cup chopped nuts
- 2 cups sugar, or less
- 2 ¼ cups flour
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
Mix the eggs, oil, canned pumpkin together, and set aside. Then blend the rest of the indredients and pour in the liquids, mixing well, but not over stirring.
Put into greased muffin tins and bake at 350′ for about 15-20 mins or until done. This can be made into a loaf rather than muffins.
Wahta Community, Farm Store Staff
- 4 cups cranberries
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1 ½ cups water or orange juice
- 2 tablespoons grated orange or lemon peel- optional
- touch of cinnamon or nutmeg or allspice- optional
Put everything in a pot and simmer on top of stove until sauce thickens.
Immediately put in sterilized jars for later use, or chill and use within a few days.
This is a super simple recipe for thanksgiving or turkey anytime!
Recipe of the late Audrey Decaire
Pure Cranberry Jam
- 8 cups cranberries
- ¼ teaspoon all spice
- 4 cups water
- 5 ½ cups sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ bottle liquid pectin
Combine cranberries, water, sugar, and seasoning in a large pot and bring contents to a boil. Simmer until berries are soft, then remove from heat.
Drain the berries, saving the liquid. Measure 7 ½ cups of the berry mixture back into the saucepan, using some liquid if necessary, and add the sugar. Bring to a rolling boil for one minute, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and stir in pectin. Skim off foam, and stir the jam for about 5 minutes. Pour into sterilized jars, and cover with 1/8 inch of paraffin. When paraffin has hardened, seal with sterilized lids. Store in cool dry place. Makes 8 cups
Wahta Mohawk Member
Jalapeno Cranberry Jelly
- 3 cups cranberry juice
- 1 cup chopped seeded jalapeno peppers
- 7 cups sugar
- 1 cup vinegar
- 2 pouches, 3 oz each, liquid fruit pectin
- 10 drops red food colouring, optional
Place the cranberry juice and peppers in the blended and chop until peppers are fully chopped. Strain through a double thickness of cheesecloth. Put the juice in a large kettle, and add sugar and bring to a full rolling boil.
Stir in vinegar and pectin, and return to a boil, for one minute stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam, add colouring if desired. Pour into hot sterilized jars leaving ¼ inch head space. Tighten caps well.
Note: If you want the jelly hotter, just add the seeds of the jalapeno in the blender in the first step.
Submitted by customer of
Iroquois Cranberry Growers