Crazy About Cranberries



These cranberries are delicious!

This cranberry relish tastes great on everything!


As previously noted on these pages, I grew up a very picky eater. Believe me, my poor mama could tell some stories about it that would make you laugh and cry. Cranberries were definitely on my “Do Not Consume Under Any Circumstances List”. That’s DNCUACL for short or the sound that would emanate from my throat if someone forced me to eat them. Come on, they were dark red and shouldn’t that be proof enough they were as poisonous as beets?


Of course, the cranberries I was often served back then came from a can. I suppose this was a matter of convenience as cranberries always seemed to be the side dish people remembered at the very last minute—like the moment we started carving the bird.


I recall watching Mom pop the top of the can with her electric can opener and then inverting it over a bowl.  They never slid right out, either.  She’d always have to  encourage them.  She’d do this funky little dance, shake them real hard, and then this slimy looking red mass would slowly ooze out with a plop—a lot like the dog food we’d feed Satchmo, our Boxer.  The thing I just couldn’t wrap my head around was why anyone would be tempted to eat anything that looked that awful in the first place.


Fresh cranberries.

If you want delicious cranberries you have to start from scratch.

Fortunately, these days I’m surrounded by people who love to cook and most of them do things from scratch.  Since I was so picky to begin with, I’m not sure if that might have helped me be less picky as a youngster, but now it makes all the difference in the world.  Such was definitely the case with cranberries, which I now see as a delightful addition to a variety of foods.


In truth, had it not been for my wife and her insistence that cranberries should always be prepared from scratch things might not have changed for me.  For that, I owe her a huge debt of gratitude—thanks honey!  Here then is Carol’s Cranberry Relish—a recipe I’ve come to relish (sorry, I couldn’t resist).


Let’s Gather Our Ingredients


1 bag (12 ounces) fresh cranberries

1-1/2 cups sugar

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup 100% orange juice (bottled or fresh squeezed)

1 tablespoon orange zest

2 tablespoons Triple Sec (optional)




This recipe goes together so fast and easy it’s definitely worth trying in place of a can.


Squeezing my oranges.

Zest first and then sqeeze.

If you plan to used fresh squeezed orange juice, this is the place to start.  However, first grate your oranges to get your zest.  Believe me, this is much easier than trying to zest half a peel that’s already been squeezed.  Also, if you want a tip for finding the best oranges in the store, simply lift and compare two oranges side by side.  The heavier ones tend to have the most juice.


Cooking cranberries.

Put the berries in a pan on medium to medium low heat.

Next, rinse the cranberries and then put them in a large fry pan over medium heat.



Now, add the rest of your ingredients (i.e. the sugar, water, orange juice and orange zest).  See picture below.



Adding the ingredients.

Add the sugar, orange juice and don't forget the zest.


Add a little Triple Sec

Not required, but definitely worthwhile.

For a super secret extra touch, you can also add Triple Sec (the orange flavored liqueur).  This isn’t a requirement, but I think it adds that”special little something extra” that will leave your guests clamoring for more.


Stir everything and then allow the mixture to reduce.  Cover with a splatter screen. You basically want the liquid to gently boil off.  This process usually takes about 8 to 12 minutes and you’ll know you’re done when the cranberries”pop” and the mix thickens noticeably.


My cranberry relish is almost done.

These are not quite ready yet. There's still too much liquid.

Allow to cool and serve with turkey or as a wonderful relish for sandwiches, casseroles, appetizers, etc.  Really there are no limits, for once you try this you’ll be as crazy about cranberries as I am.







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