Homemade cranberry-orange relish — I’m completely hooked on this stuff. The taste is incredible, and anybody who can operate a measuring cup and a blender can make it in minutes.
I don’t know who in my family started making Cranberry-Orange Relish or where the recipe originated. As far back as I can remember noticing such things, a dish of the relish graced the table whenever a holiday meal included a roasted turkey. Until my mother compiled a cookbook of family recipes a few years ago, I’d not seen the Cranberry-Orange Relish recipe written down anywhere. Except on the notepad by my kitchen phone — every few years I’d have to call my mother to double-check the proportions. (Some years I just winged it and tortured the family with taste tests, the result of which usually was ‘needs more sugar’. )
Here’s what you need to get started: 1 measuring cup, 1 blender or food processor, 4 cups cranberries, 2 oranges, and 2 cups sugar. There’s no cooking, no complicated tricks. Just 3 ingredients and a couple kitchen tools.
Start with the 4 cups of fresh cranberries. (You can use frozen if fresh aren’t available, but thaw them first.)
Cut 2 oranges into sections. Remove any seeds, but leave the peels intact.
Dump the cranberries and orange sections into the blender or food processor. I use an old stainless steel Vitamix blender. It’s powerful and almost as noisy as my chainsaw. Really, it’s overkill for this recipe but I feel powerful when I turn it on and hear the roar. Feel free to use your ordinary, relatively quiet kitchen appliance.
Add two cups sugar. I like to use the organic sugar I buy in bulk through the co-op. It’s less refined and has an interesting, more complex flavor. It also makes me feel a little less sinful about the sugar proportions — yeah, it’s half sugar, but it’s organic!
You’re not falling for that one? Oh well. The regular granulated white stuff from the grocery store is fine, too, and it’s cheaper.
Blend until finely cut. Stir the mix a bit to check for chunks of orange peel, and if you find any, give it a few more whirls with the blender. You don’t have to process until it’s a smooth puree. A little texture is nice.
Dump the mixture into a container and refrigerate for a few hours before serving. Feel free to sample while you’re dishing it up. My husband had his samples on the Butternut Squash mini-muffins we had in the fridge. My daughter ate hers over pancakes. Me? I save it for the turkey.
To recap — 4 cups cranberries, 2 cut oranges (no seeds), and 2 cups sugar. Dump in blender and process until all the parts are finely cut. Sample. Sample again. Refrigerate the rest several hours before serving. Makes 1 quart. 57 calories per 2 tablespoon serving.
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Cranberry Orange Relish.
Laura blogs at The Land of Moo.
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I have a Chicago Tribune clipping of this recipe (plus one tart apple) that dates from the late ’40s. It includes photographs and directions for making scalloped orange baskets out of some of the oranges. Oh, and since this was pre-blender era, directions say to put through a food chopper (meat grinder) using the coarse blade. It was the first thing I ‘cooked’ for the family’s thanksgiving dinner by myself. I was nine, scared I’d get my fingers caught in the grinder, and proud when it tasted ‘just like mom’s.’
On December 26, 2010 at 4:58 am
I made this for the first time this year…love it! Sooo easy! And it keeps for a good while in the fridge…made it for Thanksgiving and a little was left over in a jar, just had it this morning. I also made some to give for gifts.
I’ll try the apple too, bonita.
On December 26, 2010 at 8:35 am
LauraP. This was always on our table, too. I even remember the bowl it had to go into. Clear glass with red, black, green and yellow stripes around it. Like bonita, we used a meatgrinder, and it was also my job to get it ready. Loved the smell of the grinding oranges. Totally different texture, also.
Movie Trivia: In “Christmas in Connecticutt” if you look at the newspaper clipping of the Christmas dinner Barbara Stanwyck’s character is supposed to be making, Cranberry-Orange Relish is one of the dishes being served. Along with Roast Duck, I think.
On December 26, 2010 at 11:24 am
Lovely, just lovely! Great story, as are the updates from others who have tried similar recipes.
On December 26, 2010 at 8:46 pm
That sounds wonderful! We had some cranberry/orange sauce for Christmas and my mom told me that mixing mayonnaise into the leftover sauce was really good on sandwiches. I’ll have to try it!
On December 27, 2010 at 8:56 am