Cranberry Relish

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Post 3 in my 12 Days of Christmas Recipes Series

My grandmother-in-law gave me a million dollars last week. Well, maybe not a million dollars… but something worth close to that figure.

Saying that she is an excellent cook and hostess would be an understatement. When my husband and I first started dating, she welcomed me into her house for each holiday. The first time I went to one of their gatherings, I was terrified. You see, I am an only child. On my dad’s entire side of the family. My mom has 3 siblings. You can say that my side of the family is rather small. The holiday get-togethers I was accustomed to were small, intimate gatherings of the immediate family members. My husband’s family’s holiday gatherings, on the other hand, were huge events in comparison. Fifteen to twenty-five people (sometimes more at Christmas) eating, laughing, and generally having a good time. Boisterous, even. People everywhere with children running around playing. So, yeah… I was intimidated.

Becky (Mamaw) welcomed me into their family with open arms and made me feel right at home. Of course, the delicious food didn’t hurt matters any.

There is always a huge spread of delicious southern-style foods. My favorites are the mashed potato casserole, sweet potato casserole, and this cranberry relish. Well, not exactly this cranberry relish. Becky’s cranberry relish… but I’m getting to that.

Back to the million dollars.

She sent me a shopping bag packed to the brim with old cookbooks and recipes. Some of the books were even vintages from the 60’s and 70’s. What could be better? Absolutely nothing. Except for one thing – a book full of her own recipes. But wait! What’s that small spiral-bound book? Are those hand-written recipes on index cards? JACKPOT!

This book included a few of her classic recipes, including this cranberry relish. Except it wasn’t exactly a recipe in the traditional sense. It was a grandmother-style recipe.

It read: “Cranberry Salad: cranberries – red Jell-O – apple – pineapple  – pecans – orange peel.”

Okay. I can work with this. I Googled for “Cranberry salad” and “cranberry relish” with those particular ingredients and got a feel for how I was going to make it. The only “mistake” I think I made is that I added candied orange peel – and I’m pretty sure this isn’t in her recipe. I think by “orange peel” she meant some grated orange zest – which I have accounted for in the recipe. I need to call her.

Anyway… to make about 4 cups, you will need:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 box cherry Jell-O
  • 1 box raspberry Jell-O
  • 1 10-ounce bag fresh cranberries, finely chopped
  • 1 can pineapple, drained and finely chopped
  • 2 sweet apples (I used Golden Delicious), finely chopped
  • 1/3c pecans, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 orange, peeled and finely chopped

First of all, I’m going to recommend you use a food processor or electric chopper for this. Else you’re in for a lot of work. And that’s not my style.

Begin by heating the water and sugar over medium-low in a 4-quart-ish saucepan.

Add the chopped cranberries. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Add the Jell-O. Stir, and remove from heat.

Add the remaining ingredients and stir. Pour into a serving dish and chill for 2 hours before serving.

Personally, I don’t like the relish to be super-jelled or molded. Once it’s set up, I usually stir it up with a fork so that it’s more like a relish and less like a Jell-O mold.

I hope you give this one  a try if you enjoy cranberries!

Check out the other recipes so far in my 12 Days of Christmas Recipes series!

Day 1: Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cookies
Day 2: Cinnamon Palmiers
Day 3: Cranberry Relish

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