Cranberries are a traditional Thanksgiving Day dish, dating back to the Pilgrims' first Thanksgiving, but don't stop there! Cranberries have many health benefits and are a true taste of autumn, the only time fresh cranberries are available. Cranberries are rich in antioxidants and are a decent source of vitamin C and fiber. Cranberry juice is often suggested for people at risk for urinary track infections.
According to the Center for Disease Control, ripe cranberries are full, plump, and richly red, in hues from light to dark. A ripe cranberry will bounce! Shriveled or blemished cranberries should be discarded. Cranberries keep well in the refrigerator and can be kept frozen for up to a year, if well wrapped. Frozen cranberries should NOT be thawed before use; they will turn to mush.
Grandma's Cranberry Relish Recipe
Prep time: 10 minutes (with food processor)
Chill time: Overnight
1 bag fresh cranberries, frozen
1 navel orange
½ cup walnuts (more or less, as you like)
1 small box cranberry or raspberry gelatin (regular or sugar-free)
¼ cup sugar
Chop the walnuts in the food processor. (Grandma had to use a food mill—aren't we lucky!) Empty into a bowl. Rinse and sort the frozen cranberries (if you didn't do so before freezing them) and chop with the food processor until fine. Cranberries are easier and less messy to chop if done while they are frozen. Empty the processor bowl. Cut up the orange into quarters and then process, rind and all, until coarsely chopped. Mix with the nuts, cranberries, and sugar. Taste for sweetness and adjust, but remember that the gelatin will add sweetness and that this relish is supposed to be rather tart.
Make the gelatin according to package directions in a serving bowl. This relish is pretty in a clear, cut-glass bowl. Fold the fruit and nut mixture into the liquid gelatin. Refrigerate until set.
Obviously, this is a great make-ahead dish. It is excellent with savory foods like turkey, chicken, or beef. (But I love a bowl of it as a snack, all by itself! Tastes like Thanksgiving at Grandma's house.)