Each year for Thanksgiving, NRC Director of Research Erin Caldwell makes cranberry relish with her family. “It includes cranberries, apples, oranges, nuts and sugar. Basically you just chop it all together and it’s a delicious little side dish.”
“It’s pretty. It’s bright red. It makes a nice note on the plate,” she describes the lovely dish.
It can also jazz up holiday leftovers. “I’ll make a sandwich with turkey and a little mayonnaise and the cranberry relish.”
Erin doesn’t know exactly the where the cranberry relish recipe originated, but she says it’s a part of her family’s history. “We’ve made it ever since I was adopted as a very young child. I have a picture of my brother [in the late 60s] when he was about two-years-old with the grinder. So it goes way back.”
“Now I use a food processor or a blender. But my mom used to have a big grinder. She’d get it out once a year for the cranberry relish. It had a huge handle that you cranked and my brother loved to be the one to crank it. That just became part of Thanksgiving, even years later. My brother would grind the cranberries.”
The ruby colored relish brings back fond, holiday memories for Erin. “It represents a time to be together with your family.” She says her mother would befriend older people in the community and invite them in for the holiday meal. “It wasn’t just our family but also people my mother brought into the home, who otherwise wouldn’t have had a place to go for Thanksgiving. So they got to share that family experience with us,” Erin smiles.
The cranberry relish is made from scratch and tastes sweet, sour and fruity. “It’s fresh and tart and kind of bright. Sweet, but not too sweet.” It’s the perfect accent to the rest of the savory Thanksgiving comfort foods.
Cranberry Relish Recipe
3 tart apples*, peeled and cored
2 oranges, cut into fourths, deseeded
3 cups fresh cranberries
1/3 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup pecans, chopped
1. Combine fruit into a food processor, blender or grinder and chop until well-blended.
2. Stir in sugar, salt and nuts.
3. That’s it! This dish is ready to eat with a fall feast.
*Tart apple varieties include Braeburn, Granny Smith, Pink Lady and Red Rome. Pictured above are three Braeburn apples.
Want more fall recipes, healthy or indulgent? Visit the NRC Life blog each weekend in November for a new favorite!
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