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Cranberry Relish

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Cranberry Relish

Cranberry relish is not just something you dump on top of Thanksgiving dinner, it's also something you can dump on venison, game birds, pound cake, bread, or pancakes. The Bridge and Tunnel Club's lair in New York City receives fresh cranberries throughout fall and winter thanks to old Plymouth Plantation two states north. If you live outside the Northeastern U.S./Canada, you might want to whip up a big batch of relish around turkeytime and preserve some for the rest of the year. Slap a bow on a nice looking jar and it makes a fine winter hostess gift, too.


Wash and pick out any dirty bits from about two pounds of cranberries, then plunk them into a big pot. Pour in a few cups of water so that the berries are immersed but not covered. Add sugar according to your taste and how you plan to use the relish. The Club likes its relish a little on the tart side, so we add about a cup of brown sugar at this stage and add a bit of maple syrup later. Some recipes call for several cups of white sugar. To each their own relish.

Cranberries Boiling

Boil 'em! When the berry skins are popping like mad, you're ready for phase two.

Watched Pot Of Cranberries, Boiling

Lower the heat and let the pot simmer.

Cranberries with Oranges

At this point you can add flavorings of your choice and any additional sweetener. We like to add a few cubed Honeycrisp apples and a hacked up orange both for flavor and for the natural pectin needed to produce a delightfully thick relish. Spices we usually mix in include freshly grated nutmeg and cinnamon, whole star anise and cardamom, and powdered ginger and clove. Be creative but be sure taste as you go.

Cranberry Relish in Jars

When it's simmered for half an hour, it's done. Fish out the orange chunks and the whole star anise and cardamom before you store the relish.

Cranberry Relish

It'll keep on the shelf for months in sterilized jars, but we challenge you to resist eating it for that long. If we were big jerks we'd say that it's crantastic!


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