Today I bought a small bag of cranberries. I ate some but they tasted bitter. I was wondering if they can be eaten directly?

4 Answers 4


Most people would characterize cranberries as sour, not bitter. If yours truly taste bitter, something is probably wrong and they should be discarded.

While it is safe to eat normal cranberries raw or cooked, usually they are made into sweetened dishes because they are so sour.

  • 1
    Agreed, they aren't really bitter - I suspect the OP may be interpreting an unpleasant combination of very sour and astringent as bitter.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 18:10
  • It depends on the cranberries you get but sometimes they can have bitter notes; it's not harmful. Generally if they're more ripe (deeper red) you won't experience that.
    – Casey
    Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 17:15

Cranberries are just about always sweetened. In their natural state, they are extremely tart. They're safe unsweetened, just not pleasant.


Well I'm very curious - I would characterize cranberries as bitter, not sour (lemons are sour, for instance), so I guess it depends on an individual's taste buds. I use fresh cranberries every year to make cranberry sauce around Christmas - I don't use quite as much sugar as the recipe calls for, but even when I do, there's still a back taste of bitterness. This bitterness is allayed somewhat by the addition of port to the recipe, I find. It seems to be the nature of the fruit, and it makes a very good accompaniment to both duck, goose, turkey and chicken, as far as my taste buds are concerned. Certainly, cranberry juice also has that back taste of bitterness and leaves a sort of dry, faintly bitter feel in the mouth, and this is often a reason why many of my friends and relatives don't like cranberry juice on its own - mixed with other fruits (raspberry for instance) the bitterness is almost completely disguised. I certainly wouldn't want to eat one fresh.

  • 1
    When you say "dry, faintly bitter" it makes it sound like you're in fact talking about astringency - which cranberries certainly do have.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 15:33
  • @Jefromi Yup, that's probably a good adjective, hadn't thought of it. Definitely applicable to cranberry juice.
    – bamboo
    Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 17:44
  • Are you still trying to say there's an actual bitter flavor, beyond the astringency?
    – Cascabel
    Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 18:01
  • 1
    Astringent, tart, bitter, sour...and a partridge in a pear tree...
    – Jolenealaska
    Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 19:00
  • @Jefromi: Yes, actually, I am, though I'm thinking specifically of cranberry sauce here, which is not so much astringent but more slightly bitter. It's the juice to which 'astringent' is the best adjective. But I think taste perception is down to how many taste buds and how good a sense of smell you have, and that differs between people.
    – bamboo
    Commented Dec 6, 2013 at 11:27

In West Bengal we call it Karonja the plant is of lemon-plant height and thorny. The fruit is green or with reddish-stripe but when ripes it becomes blackish as congealed blood. The taste of the fruit is so sour that one has to make a sound with his tounge with closed eyes. Funny is that when it ripes become sweet and sour. This is my personal experience. I have tasted it plucking from the Plant. So, I can't agree with the view that the fruit is of bitter taste. Ofcourse, if it is the same fruit you have talked about.I am sure the fruit is same because I have seen the whole Fruit and parted fruit.


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