Tuesday, November 9, 2010

No-Cook, Fresh, Cranberry Relish Everyone Will Like

Even people who don't like cranberry relish gobble this up. At its best, it should be prepared several weeks ahead so the sugar "cooks" the relish. It lasts forever in the refrigerator and becomes better with age. I am just now finishing up the last bit I made from last winter.

The first time I attempted to make cranberry relish was when I was a young teacher. It was so horrible and bitter I never brought it home for Thanksgiving. I hated to throw it away ... so I kept it in the fridge and added more sugar, day by day, tasting after each addition. Then, one day, it just kind of turned into a lovely "jam." And it was delicious. So I brought it home for Christmas and it was an instant hit. One holiday when I wasn't home for the holidays, I sent a quart by express mail! 

  • 1 bag fresh cranberries
  • 1-2 oranges
  • Sugar. And lots of it. About 4 cups.

Carefully go over cranberries and remove old shriveled ones. Cut one orange into smaller sections (including the peel) and remove seeds if necessary. Place some berries and orange sections in food processor or mini prep and pulse/grind. Remember, this is a relish, so don't over grind into a puree. Remove to large bowl. Sometimes I add a bit more juice from another orange if mixture seems too dry. If the orange is bland, I sometimes add a bit more zest from the second orange. Add 1-2 cups of sugar. Cover and place in refrigerator.

For the next several days, add 1/2 cup sugar at a time and stir. In total, you will probably use about 2 pounds of sugar or 4 cups. By the fifth day or so the flavors will really begin to blend and you should be able to just taste a bit of orange. After about a week, it will have "jellied." 

This is the perfect side to anything savory or bland. Of course, it's wonderful with stuffing. I love it with kreplach. Put in small jars, it makes for an appreciated gift.

Notes: Last year I just dumped all the sugar into a bowl with the processed berries and oranges and then stirred at least once a day for a week or so.  It was just fine!