Recipe: Fresh Cranberry Relish

updated Jan 29, 2020
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

This is cranberry relish to us. No wiggling cylinder from a can, no whole berries that are cooked down with sugar. Our cranberry side dish is always fresh, chunky, sweet, and full of fruit. We think we’ve perfected our combination, finally…

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Growing up, our family used an old-fashioned grinder to make cranberry relish. It produced tiny bits of fruit without turning everything to mush. In our house, though, we use a food processor (very sparingly) to chop the cranberries and do everything else by hand. It doesn’t take long- there’s only one orange and one apple involved, so it’s not a ton of dicing.

And while our family’s recipe always called for grinding the whole orange, peel included, into the relish, we always found that too bitter. Our recipe has just orange zest. Also, we add a little canned, crushed pineapple which gives the mixture a bit more sweetness and provides some moisture to hold everything together.

We like our relish pretty sweet. It serves as dessert after Thanksgiving, when the pies are gone. But if you prefer yours more tart, you can adjust the sugar or leave out the pineapple. Also feel free to add other ingredients- maybe pears instead of apples or some chopped, crystallized ginger.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Fresh Cranberry Relish
makes about four cups

1 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries
1 1/2 teaspoons orange zest
1 large orange (or 2 small), sectioned and chopped into small pieces*
1 apple, peeled, cored, and finely diced
1/3 cup canned, crushed pineapple (drained of excess juice)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Rinse and drain the cranberries, then pulse them about 12-15 times in a food processor until finely chopped but not pulverized. Put in a large bowl.

Add the rest of the ingredients, stir, and allow to sit for an hour or two in the refrigerator before serving, so that the sugar can dissolve and the flavors can mingle. This relish also freezes well.

*Our method for sectioning an orange: Slice off a small disk from the bottom of the orange, so that it sits still on a cutting board. Use a chef’s knife to carve down the sides, removing the peel in about 4 or 5 pieces. Use a paring knife to cut into the orange on either side of the thin membranes that separate each section. The sections should wiggle free and come out. Then roughly chop and add to the relish.

Related: Recipe: Basic Cranberry Sauce (the cooked version)