Fresh Cranberry Relish

Fresh Cranberry Relish
Fresh Cranberry Relish

Think Outside the Can

It’s that time of year again…the time when bags of cranberries arrive on the shelves of our markets produce sections. Prior to refrigerated trucking, you could not find cranberries if you lived too far from a grower. In 1912, the United Cape Cod Cranberry Company was formed and began the commercial process of canning a cooked cranberry and sugar sauce. The canned sauce could be shipped anywhere and became so popular that it evolved into a national traditional favorite to accompany roasted turkey. But nowadays fresh cranberries are available nationwide, and the chefs of the CIA encourage you to try making your own cranberry relish this holiday season.

“Fresh cranberries are round like large marbles with a deep red color and a very tart flavor,” says CIA Chef Rob Mullooly. “They should be plump and bright and are excellent when paired with sweeter fruits to balance their tartness. If you prefer to make this dish without alcohol, you can substitute additional orange juice for the triple sec or Grand Marnier.”

The cranberry is one of two berries—along with the blueberry—native to North America. It’s an unusual fruit in that it grows in wet bogs primarily in the American North. Wisconsin is the heaviest producer, followed by Massachusetts, but cranberries are also grown in New Jersey and the Pacific Northwest.

So go grab a bag of those beautiful fresh cranberries, and with just a few ingredients, you can make and serve the quick and delicious recipe below for your guests this holiday season.

Fresh Cranberry Relish

Makes 6 servings

  • One 12-ounce bag of fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier or Triple Sec
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons orange marmalade
  1. If using fresh cranberries, wash, pick through, and dry them thoroughly.
  2. In a medium saucepan, mix 1/3 cup of sugar with the cranberries and the remaining ingredients. Taste to adjust sweetness and add more sugar if desired.
  3. Place over medium-high heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until the berries pop.
  4. You may serve hot or cold.

Nutrition Analysis per 1-ounce serving: 40 calories, 0g protein, 9g carbohydrate, 0g fat, 0mg sodium, 0mg cholesterol, less than 1g dietary fiber.