From Trading Furs to Baking Wild Cranberries: A Bannock Recipe

By Hayley Slipiec, Fort Langley National Historic Site, BC

What’s not to like about cranberries? After all, this nutritious berry tastes like a fall or winter holiday. Just think about cranberry sauce, chocolate cranberry cookies, orange cranberry breads, and cranberry punch. What is your own favourite recipe?

Wild cranberries tell an interesting story at Fort Langley National Historic Site. Two centuries ago, the Hudson’s Bay Company built a small post here along the Fraser River. The company most wanted to trade furs, but Indigenous peoples of the West Coast also pressed traders to accept traditional harvests like cranberries.

For Indigenous peoples, cranberries were cherished as a delicious food item and a colourful dye, and they saw in this fruit a valuable trading good. Not long after, the Hudson’s Bay Company was exporting them to California while their workers were also eating them locally in foods such as bannock.

Plush parka in a basket of bannock

Are you ready to try a delicious historical recipe? Luckily, odds are you will not look further than your pantry for dried cranberries. No trade will be required, but we still recommend the construction of a blanket fort for an authentic experience! After all, what’s more enjoyable on a holiday morning than cozying up together with cranberry bannock and a steaming hot chocolate


  • 2 cups of all-purpose or whole wheat flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp cold butter
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
Plush Parka oversees the making of bannock


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 °F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and dried cranberries.
  3. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Gradually add milk to make soft dough that will form into a ball.
  4. Shape into 6 biscuits approx. 2” around and 1/2” thick.
  5. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet so the edges are almost touching and will rise into each other.
  6. Bake in oven centre until golden brown, about 15 min.

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