|Classic cranberry relish, made from uncooked, fresh cranberries, oranges, apples and pineapple.|
Cranberry RelishWhen I was growing up, there was one cranberry sauce at our house over the holidays. The familiar, cylinder-shaped, super sweet, jellied cranberry sauce, decorated with ridges molded right from the can it slurped out of. It's one thing in common from our holiday tables past, that so many of us Southerners still connect to nostalgically, no matter where we grew up.
Mama always served it in slices, on an oblong, etched glass dish that was used exclusively for the cranberry sauce every holiday. Almost inevitably, we'd all settle down to the table together, say grace and be digging in, when I would look around the table and notice it missing. "Hey... where's the cranberry sauce?" For me, it just wasn't a holiday meal without that cranberry sauce. It was, and still is, as much a part of our holiday as family.
While I still love the familiar, ridged jellied cranberry sauce even today, and the canned whole berry sauce is pretty good too, as is homemade sauce from cooked cranberries - this cranberry relish is also a long-time favorite, and such a wonderful addition to the holiday table. The recipe is heirloom, having been around longer than even me, and might just conjure up some memories of your own grandma or even your great grandmother when you serve it.
Unlike cranberry sauce, the relish is made with raw, uncooked cranberries that are coarsely ground, retaining some texture to them. Back in the day, it was usually made with a countertop grinder, and the oranges were ground whole, rind, pith and all. I prefer to zest one of the oranges and peel them myself.
Oh! Here's another fun tool I've acquired recently. I bet you've seen this gadget below around by now. It's been featured on QVC a few times this apple season, but I picked mine up from Amazon and saved a dollar or three. Since I don't generally process a lot of apples at once, well, unless I'm making a pie or something like that, I never imagined I would really have much use for one of these. I mostly core, slice and eat apples one or two at a time and mostly for a snack. It wasn't that expensive though, and I was curious, so I thought I'd get one and see how it really worked.
I admit, I was a little bit leary about the fact that it's all plastic, so I've not been too rough with it, but wow, it sure zips through an apple like nobody's business.
I use a food processor, well, now my Ninja blender, to process the cranberries and they do better if they're frozen too, so stick the bag in the freezer overnight if you think about it. Make sure you only just pulse the mixture though, so that it's ground coarsely and not pureed. The Ninja is pretty powerful, so I decided I better pulse it in batches, with half of the apples, oranges and cranberries at a time.
Then transferring that batch to my storage bowl before doing the other half.
To this you'll add in the drained pineapple and sugar. I forgot to drain my pineapple, so this is probably a little more liquid than yours will be. Either way it's good! From here you'll want to refrigerate it overnight at least, even longer if you can. The flavor only improves and it takes on a super rich shade of red over time, like that pictured above. Yes, that is the color, not an enhanced photo! The relish will keep for more than a week, so you can make it up in advance too.
Cranberry relish is the perfect accent for ham and turkey of course, and it's excellent on a leftover turkey sandwich, but this stuff is so good, I swear you'll wanna just break out a spoon and eat it like fruit salad. Not that I would know anything about that.
If you have any leftover, and you likely won't, cranberry relish and sauces can be used to enhance cake and quick bread batters, cupcakes, add a dollop to your breakfast smoothies, or use it as a fruit sauce with waffles and pancakes. For more ideas, visit my Thanksgiving leftovers page.
Here's how to make it.
Recipe: Cranberry Relish©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Inactive time: 12 hours | Yield: About 1-1/2 quarts
- 2 naval oranges, reserve zest from one orange
- 2 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
- 1 (12 ounce) bag of fresh cranberries, frozen
- 1 (8 ounce) can of crushed pineapple, drained
- 1 to 2 cups of granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup of finely chopped pecans, optional
Zest one of the oranges, peel both and quarter. Place them in a food processor, along with the apples and cranberries; pulse briefly together just until coarsely ground. Do not puree. Place into a covered bowl and stir in the sugar and the drained pineapple. Stir in pecans, if using. Refrigerate overnight, or about 12 hours, before serving. Okay to freeze.
Tip: The cranberries will grind better if they are frozen. Sweetness can vary with oranges, so start with 1 cup of the sugar along with the pineapple, taste and adjust, adding more sugar, as needed. Mixture keeps well for a week or longer. May also be congealed and molded by preparing a large box of complementary flavored Jello with water, let cool, then stir in the cranberry relish, mold and let set.
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