Cranberry Achar (Pickle)


cranberry pickle

When my mom got married in India in the 80s, she lived with my dad’s side of the family for a year… without my dad! He was in America, working while they waited for her paperwork to come through.

While mom lived with her in-laws in Allahabad, she’d make all sorts of pickles, jams, and jellies from the fruit growing in my dad’s family’s garden. One of those fruits was a pinkish-white berry called karonda, which just so happens to look very similar to a cranberry. They are both about the same size, and they are both sour berries.

It’s not possible to find karonda here in the US (at least, not that I’m aware of), so my mom uses cranberries instead. This is her karonde ka achar, only made with cranberries.


It has taken me a long time to share my mom’s pickle recipes here on the blog, and I think I know the reason why. Pickles are a test of patience and trust, two skills that I probably need to work on. Pickles are not difficult to make, but they require time.

Before you can start, you have to wash and dry the fruit (or vegetable) that you’re making a pickle out of; they must be thoroughly dry – sometimes, you have to use paper towels to be sure. Then you have to cut them. Just a heads up, if pickles are a test of patience, this cranberry pickle will test your limits. Slicing through handfuls of tiny cranberries is a painstaking process.

Add freshly ground spices, salt, and oil. After that, there’s nothing to do but wait and trust the process.

cranberry pickles

Depending on the pickle, the length of time varies. Some pickles take days, weeks, or even months to reach their peak flavor. This cranberry pickle takes around a week for the fruit to release its juices and for the spices to mingle and intensify in flavor. Eat it too soon, and you’ll be eating bitter, raw berries. Wait until it’s ready, and you’ll be rewarded a pickle that’s well-balanced in flavor – salty, sour, a bit spicy.

I think there’s a reason my mom is so good at making pickles. She’s a very patient and trusting person. I suppose you’d have to be to live with your brand new in-laws for a year, to eventually be with your husband, who you’d only met for the first time on your wedding day.

Happy 37th wedding anniversary to my parents, who, like pickles 😂, have only grown better together with time. ❤️

cranberry pickle

Cranberry Achar

cranberry pickle

Cranberry Achar

5 from 24 reviews
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Cuisine Indian



  • Rinse the cranberries and then completely dry them. Use a paper towel if needed.
  • Cut all of the cranberries in half, and place them in a bowl.
  • Coarsely grind all the whole spices
  • Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, turn off the stove and add the freshly ground spices as well as salt, cayenne, turmeric and mix well. 
  • Pour this over the cranberries and mix well.
  • Once the berries have cooled completely, pour them into a dry glass jar and let it sit for 5 days, making sure to shake the jar once a day to get the oil to coat all the berries. Move the jar to the fridge on day 5, then wait another 2 days before eating for the best flavor.
  • Store this achar in the fridge for up to a month.


  • This is a mildly spicy pickle. For a spicier pickle, you can add a few green chilies to the cranberries. You can also double or triple the amount of cayenne.
  • You can always make the achar as written, and then add more salt and cayenne to taste once it has fermented.
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Find out more about my cookbooks Indian Food Under Pressure and South Asian Persuasion.

About Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and you’ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.


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  1. Bill says

    When adding the oil to the cranberries, is it okay to let the oil cool completely? I want to maximize the healthy microbiota from the fermenting process and adding hot oil can kill off the good bacteria. Thanks!

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