Yes but people generally don’t.
It’s reported that only 5% of Cranberries are sold raw.
Eating them instantly brings up that famously bitter, sharp taste and that’s why people usually want them cooked or sweetened.
This taste is because of the high tannin content in cranberries. Tannins are compounds in plants and we generally taste them in coffee, wine, and dark chocolate. Cranberries have a lot and so people usually stay away from eating them raw.
Some people don’t mind the taste and learn to even enjoy the tart and bitter, bitingly acerbic taste. They pop em in their mouth like candy and are happily enjoying the health benefits they get from eating this nutritious berry.
Those odd balls aside, this taste profile of cranberries explain why it’s far easier to find them dried and canned than fresh.
But if you were to eat them raw, the best way would be to mix them with other foods. This way you don’t have to pretend that the sour taste that’s dehydrating the inner tissues of your cheeks and making you pucker involuntarily doesn’t bother you.
How to Eat Cranberries Raw
The first tip is to cut them up before you add them to your dish. This makes them easier to eat.
– Mix them with yogurt at breakfast.
– Add them to a bowl of fresh berries topped with a spoonful of sweetener.
– Toss a few sliced raw cranberries into a chicken salad at lunch.
– Pulse them into a relish.
– Blend cranberries up into an antioxidant-rich, nutritious smoothie.
– Add some to your morning bowl of oatmeal.
– Blend them into a sauce.
You get the idea. There are lots of different ways to be creative with raw cranberries to make them more appealing.
But if you really wanted to learn to enjoy them the way you would enjoy a raspberry for example, just popping them in your mouth, then I’d recommend the following approach:
Training your Palate
First of all it’s important to eat them when in season. They’re delicious at that time and have a delightful crunch. The firmer, the better. They are usually in stores from October to the end of November in most of North America.
Cranberries are naturally low in sugar, compared to other fruit, around 2/3 that of the same weight of strawberry so again they will be sour.
When trying them for the first time, I recommend that you think about it like you’re eating a lemon rather than a berry. It’s not as sour as a lemon, but the taste will seem less surprising, and you’ll quickly begin to enjoy the mix of sour and sweet.
It does take practice though so keep at it.
I’d also avoid dried cranberries. Most of the time the manufacturers insist on adding sugar to them, which makes them less healthy (i.e. weight gain) and to me destroys what’s so special about cranberries, the tartness.
Cranberries are high in fiber as well as manganese, copper, and vitamins C, E, and K1, and lots of antioxidants so again, it’s well worth going through a taste-adjustment-period to reap these benefits.
They make a great low glycemic snack too so if you’re interested in eating cranberries raw then there isn’t much of a downside, except being the weirdo in the group who eats and enjoys those awful, sour raw cranberries.