Friday, November 21, 2014

Recipe: Grandma's Cranberry Relish

I don't know who gets credit for today's Cranberry Relish Recipe. It could be either Grandma who first started making it. Possibly the recipe came through the Homemaker's Club. They were both in the club, as was my Mom. They are all included in the photo above that Grandpa took at a long ago meeting. Mom standing on the left, her Mom seated nearest her, and Grandma Signa standing on the right.
What I suspect to be most likely is that the recipe was printed on the cranberry bag. I can remember Grandma telling me to always read recipes on the package. If one looks good, give it a try. The recipe is there to sell the product, so these are usually good recipes, she reasoned.
Wherever this recipe originated, it is delicious. Cranberry Relish goes well with all kinds of meat and dishes made with meat. 
 When I was young, a bowl of cranberry relish was on the table at Thanksgiving and Christmas. We serve it more often now. I like to have some in the refrigerator so I can mix it with other fruit in a salad. I especially like to mix it with apples, pecans, miniature marshmallows and whipped cream. It tastes like happiness to me.
 The recipe has only three ingredients:
1 pound fresh cranberries
 Outer peel of one orange
and one cup of sugar. 
I use a peeler over the orange skin and grind it with the cranberries. I use the grinder attachment on my mixer. Grandma Nola uses her food processor to chop the cranberries and grates the orange on a box grater. We both spent years making this with a hand grinder fastened to the edge of the kitchen table. All methods work for us, but when grinding by hand, we ground the cranberries when they were slightly frozen to keep the juice from dripping. With electric means, use fresh cranberries.
I make large batches of this relish for Thanksgiving and Christmas, using several pounds of cranberries. Since our recipe was written down, the size of cranberry bags has changed. They are now sold in 12 ounce bags. So if you are going to make just a little relish from one 12 ounce bag of cranberries, you would add no more than 3/4 cup of sugar. 
This is one of those recipes that you can adjust to personal taste. I add a little less sugar than the recipe calls for, but it is delicious when fully sweetened. 
Stir the sugar in and let the mixture stand for a few hours or overnight before serving to let the flavors blend and the sugar fully melt into the fruit. Cranberry Relish keeps in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks and freezes well. 
It feels festive in GriggsDakota when the cranberry relish is ready for the table. 
Grandma's Cranberry Relish
1 pound fresh cranberries
Zest from one orange
1 Cup Sugar
Grind the cranberries. Grate or grind the orange peel. Mix in one cup of sugar. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight before serving. Freezes well.


  1. Oh what memories of using the hand grinder helping my mom and grandma make cranberry relish for the holidays.

  2. I'm pretty sure my South Dakotan grandma is in that picture. Just kidding, but those were the styles she was rocking back in the day. Food at grandma's house was the best. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.