I love fresh cranberries with their vibrant color and their tart and bitter flavor. They pair beautifully with sour-sweet fruits like raspberries and cherries, as well as citrus fruits like kumquats and mandarins. While I’m not one to shy away from cranberry compotes and sauces, I prefer cranberry relish for its freshness and for that wonderful hit of subtle bitterness that’s lost when cranberries are cooked.
This relish, which combines cranberries with sour-sweet mandarin oranges, apple juice and a hit of whole, unrefined cane sugar, is one of my favorites and finds a place on my Thanksgiving table each year.
The Goodness in Cranberries
Cranberries, like other berries, are particularly rich in antioxidants which help to detoxify free radicals that can accumulate in the body from diet, the environment or from the body’s own internal metabolism. They are particularly rich in vitamin C, quercetin, anthocyanins and flavonoids, and its these micronutrients that give cranberries not only their vivid color but they’re remarkable and potent flavor. Cranberries can reduce oxidative stress, and help to enhance heart health as well as health overall (1).
Mandarin Cranberry Relish
- 6 cups fresh cranberries
- 4 mandarins
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 cup whole
- Rinse and pick over the cranberries, discarding any bruised or mushy fruit. Chop the mandarins coarsely, including the rind, but discarding the seeds. Combine all ingredients in your food processor and process until it forms a slightly coarse relish.
- Chill and serve. You can make this relish up to 3 days in advance.
Get the Nourished Kitchen Guide to Thanksgiving
This recipe for Cranberry and Mandarin Relish comes from the Nourished Kitchen Guide to Thanksgiving. The guide includes a cookbook with over 40 Thanksgiving recipes, as well as 4 menus complete with shopping lists and a game plan to get dinner on the table on time as well as a mix-and-match Thanksgiving planner to help you create your own menu. And there’s plenty of options for gluten- and dairy-free guests, menus for feeding a crowd as well as preparing a smaller and more intimate gathering.
The guide, recipes and menus are available for download here.
Other Favorite Cranberry Recipes
Too often cranberries are brought to the Thanksgiving table like a relic and then forgotten for the rest of the year. Instead, consider serving them throughout the year. Cranberries are available fresh in October and November, and are available frozen year-round.
Cranberry Mors is a traditional Russian drink made by simmering cranberries with honey. We like to serve it warm with a hit of sweet spices.
Cranberry Kombucha Slushies are a super refreshing treat with a bright, tart flavor.
Cranberry Kumquat Sauce is another favorite for the Thanksgiving table if you don’t care for relish.