Cranberry Orange Relish

Makes ~3 cups of relish

1 12 oz. package of fresh or frozen cranberries
2 navel oranges
2 cups granulated sugar


  • Rinse and quarter the oranges, removing the seeds but leaving the peels on.
  • Add the cranberries and oranges to a food processor and pulse until everything is in uniformly small pieces, a relish-y consistency.
  • Put the cranberry orange mixture in a bowl for serving and stir in the sugar until evenly distributed.
  • Serve!

School breaks for Thanksgiving are a bit of a tease — just long enough to make you think you have time to visit home, see family and friends, relax, and get a bit ahead on school work, all in only four, four and a half days. A fool’s errand if ever I’ve seen one. This has all been exacerbated by cross-country travel for me for the past four years; a flight from Sacramento to Boston took up valuable time and usually made it not worth the trip. Now, we live in Massachusetts and I’m looking forward to James’s first Thanksgiving with my family and being around for the holiday for the first time in a while. However, that has meant that we don’t have time to make it out to California to spend the holiday with James’s family. Alas, I guess this is what we knew we were getting into as a bi-coastal couple! So until we convince our families to meet in the middle and all move to a weird compound in Nebraska, we’ll continue to compromise and be grateful that our families love us enough to make this all work.

Speaking of which, James’s parents were able to come out and visit this past weekend to see us, our new house, and enjoy some family time now rather than for any of us to try and squeeze in a holiday trip later this month. So, we thought that the very least we could do would be to put on a little pre-Thanksgiving dinner for them. We bought a turkey from the local supermarket, boiled some potatoes, pan fried some Brussels sprouts, made gravy, and, of course, threw together our favorite cranberry relish.

I actually don’t remember when my mom started making this cranberry relish and serving it at Thanksgiving in addition to the usual canned cranberry sauce. But I do know that it has always been one of my favorite parts of the Thanksgiving meal. I also remember that we thought about putting the recipe on the blog in the past, but we hemmed and hawed about it because we worried that it was too simple and thus not worth sharing on here. Then we realized that anything we ooed and ahed over so much whenever we ate it was worth sharing on here, regardless of how simple it was. So today, we’re bringing you a recipe with precisely three ingredients and three steps. There’s enough sugar to balance out the tartness of the cranberries, but all of the natural bright flavors of the cranberries and oranges shine through, so the result tastes fresh, sweet, and zingy, not cloyingly sugary. If you are making it for a big meal like Thanksgiving, it’s one of those dishes that you can make the day before, and it will sit happily in the fridge until you’re ready for it.

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