Good question.

When it comes to food, and thanking the Creator for the nourishment he gives us, there is one general blessing of shehakol, “Blessed are You… by Whose word all things came to be.”

But several categories of food are considered more significant, and have their own blessing, such as fruits, breads and wines.1

In total there are six food blessings.

Two of those blessings are:

  1. The blessing for fruits from a tree - we thank G‑d for the fruit of the tree.
  2. The blessing for other fruits and vegetables – we thank G‑d for the fruit of the earth.

When it comes to fruit growing several inches from the ground (such as berries, which grow on a bush), there are two opinions as to which blessing is appropriate:

  1. Fruit growing so close to the ground is considered a fruit of the earth, ie., a vegetable, and one should say the blessing of haadamah, “Blessed are You… Who creates the fruit of the earth.”2
  2. Since the actual tree still remains even after the fruit falls off, it is considered fruit of the tree, i.e., a fruit, and one should say the blessing of haetz, “Blessed are You… Who creates the fruit of the tree.”3

Although cranberries as we know them grow on low-lying vines, there are some cranberries that grow on 15 feet high plants! It seems that all cranberries were originally grown higher, but are now grown close to the ground to make the fruit easier to harvest. Therefore, many consider the cranberry a fruit, on which the blessing haetz should be said.4

Cranberries are very tart, and usually only eaten dried, or sweetened and made into juice or sauce. Fresh or dried cranberries would be haetz. The juice and sauce, which do not resemble the original fruit, are shehakol.5

It’s important to note that processed cranberries require kosher certification to ensure they were sweetened with kosher products.

See Basic Blessing's on Food Guide.