Sparkling Raw Cranberry Orange Relish

Sparkling Raw Cranberry Orange Relish

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.

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sparkling raw cranberry relish ingredients

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.

Sparkling Raw Cranberry Orange Relish

Sparkling Raw Cranberry Orange Relish: The Recipe

ruby red cranberry beet sauce

Ruby Red Cranberry Beet Sauce

It never ceases to delight me. Raw cranberries, from pink to bright garnet, cook into a luxurious ruby red cranberry beet sauce. Of course, they’d do that without the beet, but the beet adds natural sweetness, vitamin A, and fiber. So go for it.

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This one is super easy: Start with a bag of cranberries. You may even want to stock up while they’re in season. They freeze well, and your version of Ruby Red Cranberry Beet Sauce may be just the thing for livening up sandwiches and desserts in the months to come. (For more ideas, see this post on cranberries.)

I always split the bag in half, so that I can have one batch of cooked sauce and one of raw relish. Eating-wise, I identify as a grazer. I prefer a couple of bites of a lot of different stuff to one big slab of anything.

Now, you can go ahead and dump the berries, some cooking liquid, grated beet, and the sugar into the pot at once. In the picture, you don’t see beet, because it ended up being a last minute burst of inspiration.

ruby red cranberry beet relish

If you choose to add minced fruit, herbs and/or spices, add those now as well. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer for just 4-5 minutes. The cranberries audibly pop, which is sort of adorable. Don’t overcook! Mushy berries are gross.

And speaking of sugar, I recommend reverse engineering the sweetness factor. The classic proportion is 1 part sugar to 2 parts cranberries to half a part liquid. I prefer 1:4, and recommend that’s where you start—unless you really like your sugar. If you want to play it safe and do the 1:2 thing, next time, take it back a notch to 1:3. Eventually, you’ll hit on the right proportions for you. And just because you are adding a sweetener, you’re not undoing the benefits of the cranberries; the sauce will just be less nutritionally dense than the berry on its own. Save a handful of raw berries to throw in your smoothie, and you’ll be good to go.

If, on the other hand, you boldly go ahead with the 1:4 proportion and the sauce isn’t sweet enough, don’t add granulated sugar to the finished product; the crystals won’t dissolve. Instead, pour in a little maple syrup or agave, or even add a drop of Stevia until you get where you need to be.

Ruby Red Cranberry Beet Sauce can be made up to 5 days ahead. Leftovers can be frozen. Use instead of jam on your morning toast or for a completely amazing cream cheese or nut butter sandwich.

ruby red cranberry beet sauce

Ruby Red Cranberry Beet Sauce: The Recipe