Cranberry Orange Relish | Family Recipe

Cranberry Orange Relish | Family Recipe

The one recipe we make without fail every single winter is our Cranberry Relish. It tastes like the holidays to me.

We make a big batch at Thanksgiving, and it usually lasts till New Years. I have so many memories of making this shoulder to shoulder with my little sister as we were growing up.

That’s why, even after we got a food processor, I still prefer the old fashioned grinding method from our childhood. Sure, it’s slower and it’s messier. But that’s part of the fun.

Cranberry Relish Family Holiday Recipe #ProjectSTIR

This is a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure type recipe. Because fruit comes in different sizes and tartness-es we tend to make our cranberry relish “to taste”. Too runny? Add an apple wedge. Too sweet? Another spoonful of sugar. Just keep tweaking until it suits you.

First, you’ll want to wash your cranberries. Playing with the floating cranberries in the water was one of our favorite parts as kids. 😉 Pour the berries into a large bowl and toss out any that sink or squish. Those are the bad ones.

Cranberry Relish Family Holiday Recipe #ProjectSTIR

While we were splashing around in the water Mom would quarter an apple and a couple of oranges. Be sure to leave on the skin! That’s where all the good flavor comes from.

Back when we were growing up we used Mom’s stand mixer and grinder from the 1970’s. It gave out on us a few years ago so we finally upgraded to a Kitchenaid and got the grinder attachment for that.

You can absolutely make this with a food processor if that’s what you have. I use the grinder 90% for nostalgia and 10% for the texture. Freshly ground relish is a little bit coarser than a food processor puts out.

Cranberry Relish Family Holiday Recipe #ProjectSTIR

Alternate the fruit you put in… cranberries, orange wedge, apple slice, more cranberries, and so on. Keep an eye on the mixture. Depending on the size of your fruit and the consistency you want you may adjust the amount of fruit you use. We usually put in 1-2 oranges and half an apple to two bags of cranberries. The orange adds a citrus kick and the apple helps keep the mixture from getting too runny.

Cranberry Relish Family Holiday Recipe #ProjectSTIR

Stir everything up and add your sweetener of choice. We usually walk around with a spoon to get several opinions before deciding it’s “just right”. Spoon into mason jars and there you go! We eat this stuff on rolls, turkey, sandwiches & pancakes until New Years.

Cranberry Relish Family Holiday Recipe #ProjectSTIR

{Try it on HULK Pancakes for an extra healthy & delicious kick!}


I didn’t realize how much this is our quintessential family recipe until my adventures in London. One afternoon while volunteering at Sutton House I was instructed to choose a recipe I remembered from my childhood.

I thought I was just there to set up chairs, but the poet Malika Booker, from the Royal Shakespeare Company, wanted everyone to participate. Before I knew it I was scribbling down a poem about Cranberry Relish.

Malika instructed us to put formal poetry out of our minds. We were supposed to remember cooking as a child and simply write down the directions of a family recipe tying in memories along the way…

Cranberry Relish Family Recipe #ProjectSTIR


What’s your quintessential family recipe?














  • Nancy Gaines

    Sarah, great post! Your photos are stunning and your banter and reminescing is so engaging! I love reading your posts! I’m so excited about Project Stir! ?

    • Thanks so much Nancy! 🙂 I was worried this one was too long. It’s really enough content for two posts (one about the recipe and one about the poem), but I already have too many blogs I need to get scheduled before the end of the year! I got this finished and wrote two more time-sensitive blog posts today! Busy busy busy!

  • Yummmmmmmm!!!!!

    I love the poem too – so sweet and dear.

    My holiday groceries bill has already blown through the roof (as it does each and every year…cookies EVERY DAY!), but I’m going back to the store tomorrow for all of the ingredients for this. It’ll be great with our Tofurkey dinner on Boxing Day.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Huzzah for Boxing Day dinner! Let me know how it goes. 🙂

  • Talya Tate Boerner

    This recipe sounds like the perfect combo of sweet and tart to pair with everything during the holidays. Hulk pancakes? So cool. Awesome pictures per usual.

    • Thanks so much Talya! I’m sure you can get the attachment for your mixer. I just have the most basic Kitchenaid model and it works on mine. I really had no idea how many attachments and goodies Kitchenaid makes! Let me know if you try the recipe. 🙂

  • Talya Tate Boerner

    Also I’m wondering if I can get one of those attachments for my KitchenAid? Hmmm. Must research.

  • Sarah, I need to hashtag some photos with #ProjectSTIR. I love this. Every time I read anything you write, I walk away inspired. This recipe is going on my to make list. Thank you for sharing at Inspire Me Wednesday. Featuring you in next week’s issue. Merry Christmas!

    • I’ll keep an eye out for your #ProjectSTIR posts. I can’t wait to see them. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing. Glad you enjoyed the post. 🙂

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