Raw Cranberry Relish

With just the simple addition of a little jalapeño pepper and a splash of Grand Marnier, this familiar Thanksgiving cranberry relish recipe becomes a sassy salsa. Trust me, your turkey will be tapping its drumsticks with delight.–Patrick O’Connell

LC So Much For Semantics Note

We’re not certain whether, technically speaking this recipe is actually a relish or a salsa or a sauce. What matters most to us isn’t so much the semantics of the recipe’s name, but the ridiculous ease with which the recipe comes together. Seriously. We’re talking maybe five minutes effort for a stunning side certain to elicit a chorus of oohs and aahs at your table. Takes a little pressure off the turkey, doesn’t it? So much for semantics.

Raw Cranberry Relish Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 5 M
  • 5 M
  • Serves 8 to 12

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 small thin-skinned navel orange, washed, halved, seeded, and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 to 1 small jalapeño chile pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (or other orange-flavored liqueur)

Directions

  • 1. If using fresh cranberries, spread them on a large plate or rimmed baking sheet and freeze for at least 1 hour. If using frozen cranberries, keep them in the freezer until you need them.
  • 2. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade or a blender, pulse the frozen cranberries, the orange, and, if desired, the jalapeño until evenly chopped. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, add the sugar and Grand Marnier, and stir to combine.
  • 3. Cover and refrigerate the relish for at least 24 hours to allow the flavors to meld. (You can refrigerate the relish for up to 5 days.) Taste and adjust the amount of sugar and Grand Marnier accordingly. Serve cold.

In Advance Advice

  • Our fave line from this recipe? No contest. It’s the one that says, “Cover and refrigerate the relish for at least 24 hours to allow the flavors to meld. (You can refrigerate the relish for up to 5 days.)” We think you can understand why.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Testers Choice

Testers Choice

Wow. I grew up on the jiggly canned jellied cranberry sauce—you know, the kind that wobbled when you dumped it out onto a plate from the aftershock and proudly wore its ridges from the can—and so had eschewed even homemade cranberry sauce for years. This is a revelation, though. Easy. Elegant. Conversation-starting. And as tart and sprightly as the Thanskgiving table demands. I left out the jalapeño, used Grand Marnier, and wouldn’t change a thing.

Comments
Comments
  1. Phil Miller says:

    This so looks like the recipe I grew up with, except for two items: who know from jalapeño peppers? And we added coarsely chopped walnuts. I wonder how it would be with both, jalapeños and walnuts. Maybe one, but not the other? Let’s not guild the lily!

    • David Leite says:

      Phil, I think it’s a matter of taste, but I think both would work together. But, personally, I’m not a nut guy–especially in cookies. I was just teaching aboard a Holland America ship, and one of my students asked if walnuts could be added to my chocolate chip cookie recipe. I nearly fainted.

    • Charlene Cottam says:

      Mom made a version of this often in the sixties. No chiles and no booze. When Thanksgiving was over we ate the rest of the relish on vanilla ice cream. In my memory, it was really good. Have to try it again.

      Oh, and I prefer my chocolate chip nut cookies without the chocolate chips!

  2. Ken Smith says:

    This is close to the original Ocean Spray recipe. They call for a naval orange cut in 1/8s and thrown into a food processor with suger (granulated or brown) cranberries, and orange juice. I cut the juice in half and use the Grande Marnier (shoot, thought that was my idea). Now nuts and jalapeño. Hmmmm. Think I’ll some more Gran Marnier and cogitate a bit.

    • David Leite says:

      Ken, while you’re cogitating, whip up a batch–and don’t stint on the peppers! You’ll find the kick a nice change from traditional relishes.

  3. sossie scheinfeld says:

    Do you peel the orange?

  4. Susan says:

    I love cranberry relish! I’ve been making Ina Garten’s Cranberry Compote the past couple of years (it’s really good) and realized that I’ve been missing the tang and crunch of the relish that I’d made in prior years. It’s so good on a turkey sandwich! The jalapeno idea is an exciting addition. I must admit, though, I’m a nut…person, and have added them in the past. The only idea I’ve toyed with is removing and using the zest from the orange as well as the orange segments and discarding the pith. I’ve had some batches where that white pith is overwhelmingly bitter in the relish. What do you advise to counter the bitterness?

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      I suggest using a small navel orange, Susan, the kind that’s incredibly thin-skinned. In my experience, it tends to be the whopping ginormous oranges that often have more pith—and more bitter pith—than smaller ones. Of course, that’s not always the case, but I find it’s often true. I’ve also made this recipe using a couple clementines in place of an orange and found it to have a sweeter taste than usual, so perhaps that would offset the bitterness you fear. You could, of course, do as you suggested, it just takes a few more minutes. Curious to hear what approach you try…

      • Susan says:

        I like your suggestion of using a clementine. They have no seeds so I wouldn’t have to fish them out like I would using, say, a Valencia orange. Thanks, Renee.

  5. Irene says:

    Hi David ~ This sounds like a great recipe for cranberry relish with a punch! However, I would not call this a “Raw” Cranberry Relish but an Uncooked Cranberry Relish due to the sugar and Grand Marnier. That is, generally when a recipe is called raw it is referring to a “raw vegan” dish one that you would find in a raw vegan diet. Just wanted to clarify :-)

    • David Leite says:

      Irene, thanks for the clarification. And agreed, those who follow a raw vegan diet wouldn’t consider this raw. But for those folks like me and most of our readers, who consider raw to mean anything heat isn’t applied to, this would be raw. So in the same what you see signs in airports that often have two languages, we’ll consider this to have two names. How that for diplomacy?!

  6. CR says:

    Back in the 50s my Mom made the Ocean Spray recipe and started with half the sugar and then adjust up. She used Cointreau and the thickest pith navel orange she could find. However, she always made the relish with a food grinder [I got to crank it] on the Monday before Thanksgiving and would tape the container shut. The relish had a habit of disappearing before Turkey Day. She experimented by adding vanilla or almond extract or slivered almonds and always returned to the basic recipe with the Cointreau.

    • David Leite says:

      Ah, memories, CR. I used to make the Ocean Spray version ages ago. (Momma Leite opted for the can that farted out a ribbed cylinder of red stuff.) This year, though, I’m thinking of adding roasted pistachios on top of this recipe. A little crunch, and they go well with cranberries.

    • I always use the food grinder on my big stand mixer for this. It makes just the right consistency, chopped not mushy. My late mother-in-law who believed alcohol was sinful loved this dish. We never told her about the orange liquor in it; just smiled when she asked for seconds.

  7. Rochelle Eissenstat says:

    THANK YOU for this recipe! Many years ago I knew a Finnish family. They introduced me to their almost ubiquitous sauce – a RAW cranberry sauce! It was a substitute for a raw lingonberry sauce back in their homeland. The raw cranberry sauce was only raw cranberries pulverized in a blender or processor with an equal volume of granulated sugar. Then it sat in the fridge for several hours before serving.
    Your recipe seems more sophisticated, not to mention with exact measurements. I am planning to serve this on Thursday :-)

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      You’re so very welcome, Rochelle! Love when a recipe dovetails on an old recipe that was lost seemingly forever except for in our memories. Can’t wait to hear what you think!

  8. Rochelle Eissenstat says:

    For a raw vegan cranberry relish/sauce, one could sub dates for the sugar, processing the pitted dates with the cranberries. Experiment starting with few dates, then adding more to their taste.

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Send it along. Covet one of those spiffy pictures of yourself to go along with your comment? Get a free Gravatar. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

*

Daily Subscription

Enter your email address and get all of our updates sent to your inbox the moment they're posted. Be the first on your block to be in the know.

Preview daily e-mail

Weekly Subscription

Hate tons of emails? Do you prefer info delivered in a neat, easy-to-digest (pun intended) form? Then enter your email address for our weekly newsletter.

Preview weekly e-mail