On the groaning board that many of us create this time of year, cranberries should be present. They possess an extraordinary ability to cut through the fat, heavy, savory tastes of the season with a just-right bang of tart sweetness. For some folks, cooked cranberry sauce does that trick perfectly. (See the recipe for Ruby Red Cranberry Beet Sauce.) But for others, only something raw will suffice—particularly given the scarcity of raw food at countless holiday gatherings. Enter Sparkling Raw Cranberry Orange Relish.
If cooked cranberry sauce is easy, Sparkling Raw Cranberry Orange Relish is downright ridiculous. Just put raw cranberries and orange flesh in a food processor, buzz til finely chopped. Then put the mixture in a bowl, stir in sugar to your taste, and boom, you’re done. I ended up adding ginger at the last minute and loved it.
And for those who want to be careful about sugar intake, Sparkling Raw Cranberry Orange Relish offers tremendous flexibility. With a cooked cranberry sauce, you have to cook the sugar or it won’t dissolve properly. So if you start low and then try to add sugar in, you could end up with a gritty sauce. The raw relish actually sparkles because the sugar crystals catch the light; that nearly imperceptible crunch blends beautifully with the crispy texture of the raw cranberries. Start as minimal as you like. Stir in a tablespoon of sugar; maybe that’s enough. Taste, then stir in the next one. Just keep going until it tastes the way you like it.
You can make Raw Cranberry Orange Relish up to 2 days ahead, and you can freeze leftovers. Due to apples and pears not holding up so well once they’re cut, I wouldn’t recommend substituting them for the orange unless you’re going to eat the relish immediately. With my feasts this time of year, I like to cook as many dishes ahead of time as possible, so I stick with orange. Of course, it’s your call.