Musical pairing – Linger by The Cranberries

I don’t know about you but I’ve never been a fan of cranberry sauce from a can.  Ever. Every single Thanksgiving holiday you could find some sort of small serving dish with a blob of jiggly, jello-like substance with the texture of sandpaper, sitting somewhere on the table – usually next to the olive and sweet pickle tray.  Who on earth decided this was good eats??

You know exactly what I mean: grab a can opener, remove one end of the can completely, flip the whole thing upside down onto a small serving dish, cut the other end of the can and voila, the entire ruby-red congealed mess slides out all wiggly-like – complete with perfect ring indentations from ridges on the can and a small amount of red liquid oozing onto the plate.  And who can forget that awful sucking sound as the whole log releases from the can – Mmmmm, right?  Am I right? You totally know I’m right.  And then that lump of jigglyness dares you to take a taste. And every single Thanksgiving, I would slice an ever so tiny amount onto my plate thinking this would be the year, this would be the year my tastebuds would finally cross over into adulthood in which I would fall madly in love with cranberry sauce from the can.   People, I am here to tell you that never happened.

Oh yes, I tried different brands, I bought fresh cranberries and made my own, I even thought buying ‘whole cranberry’ sauce in a can would swing me over to the dark side of loving canned cranberry sauce . . . but alas, the love affair was just not meant to be.  Then a couple of years ago, I discovered Trader Joe’s Fresh Cranberry Relish – could this be the answer??  Total score!  No congealed, sandpaper-like yukies in the container; I even picked up extras to have as a salad because this my friends, not only contains fresh cranberries, but oranges as well:  chunky, sweet-tart bites of cranberries and oranges – now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!  I was all set to deconstruct that container when my sister-in-law brought a cranberry dish to Thanksgiving dinner last year – it was almost identical to the recipe I’d fallen in love with from Trader Joe’s.  And now I’m going to share it with you – come on over to the dark side of cranberry orange relish lovers!

Are you a cranberry sauce lover?

You might also like:
Cranberry Applesauce – Simply Recipes
Cranberry Rum-Raisin Sauce – Leite’s Culinaria


  1. Judy Lysczek

    i make this every year minus the apple. Just make sure the Orange is a thin skinned, juice orange. The navels with the thick skin have bitter white pith. Can’t wait for a turkey sandwich with this relish on it. Yummy!

  2. Joan Demshock

    I do this too, but I do not use the whole orange. Just use the rind and segments, and usually no apple.
    I sweeten lightly, and add anout 1/3 cup of Bristol cream sherry. Needs to sit for several days to marry the flavors. Gets better with time.

  3. I could not find my recipe for cranberry relish i am glad that I was looking on the web for one this is just the kind I make thank you soo much for the recipe. Joanne

  4. EEk – I’ve been looking everywhere for this simple recipe. Thank you, thank you. I forgot how to make it – all of 3 ingredients and I forgot. By the way it’s also good on top of turkey or ham (leftover) sandwiches.

  5. love the stuff. though i tend to associate w/ christmas as my great, great uncle tom always made using that is the recipe. so it has been in the family for years. of course that was pre-food processor so it was actually made using one of those old fashioned meat grinders that attached to the table. i believe the recipe came from the back of the ocean spray bag.

    enjoy it this thanksgiving 🙂

  6. I could totally get used to this over jiggly cranberry sauce! What a delicious creation!

  7. Pingback: Fresh Cranberry Orange Sauce Recipe | Two Peas and Their Pod

  8. Cranberry sauce is my favorite thing during the holidays… but I particularly love relishes. I’d love to try this… looks incredibly refreshing.

  9. You and I couldn’t be more on the same wavelength when it comes to the horrors of canned cranberry sauce or the appeal of fresh cranberry relish. My (and my mother’s) traditional accompaniment to Thanksgiving turkey is this same raw cranberry relish, but minus the apples. Frankly it’s my favorite part of the meal, and I am quite happy to sit down with a big bowl of it and eat it on its own as a salad too. I’m making a bunch of cranberry preserves right now, but I’ll NEVER switch away from this relish for T-Day itself. Yum double yum!!!

  10. Debra, Debra, Debra….

    You have JUST made my day!

    I just returned from the grocery…gathering goods for thanksgiving.

    There is NO satisfactory cranberry sauce / relish to be had out there. I was just about to leave on a second foray when on a whim, I decided to check email first.

    Oooh la la! There was your blog entry in my inbox…with your cranberry relish recipe. And it is so EASY to make!!!!

    Have I told you yet today that I love you, man?

    Woot! Woot!

  11. I am a cranberry sauce lover… but not from a can! I’ve never understood why people bought the canned stuff since making your own is so simple and SO much better!!!

    Since I a cranberry fan, I love it in all it’s forms and this relish is right up my alley – have bookmarked for future reference!!!

  12. I’ve never seen anything like this little salad relish. Nice one.

  13. Cranberry sauce is so simple to make that it always amazes me anyone buys it in a can. And cranberries freeze well too! Oh well!
    I love the cranberry relish recipe…going to try it for certain.

  14. Deb, you have been visiting my memories haven’t you. I could have written this post…I just could not STAND that canned stuff; even thinking of it today makes me cringe. But then I starting making my own. And I thank you for including one of them in your list above. I love homemade sauce and this relish: Well, I’ve become a fiend for dishes with fresh cranberries.

    But do you remember our first meeting last year about this time? First it was the invisible Twitter icon but we really bonded over cranberry liqueur and I thought of you when I bought my first bag of cranberries last week; no longer satisfied to wait til Christmas; I am making this for Thanksgiving this year!

  15. We always had the canned stuff growing up, and I was like you – always hoping I’d learn to like it (it never happened). Last year however, I hosted Thanksgiving for the first time and I made my own cranberry sauce from scratch…I totally fell in love with it. This relish looks wonderful too!

  16. I’m a cranberry relish person, too. Tart and crunchy is so much better than that stuff out of the can. I recently made some with pears, crystallized ginger, and pecans added to the cranberries and orange–another tasty combination.

  17. Cranberries. Apples. Orange. So simple. I know I’m going to love this one.

  18. You know I have never really eaten cranberry sauce and it is exactly for the reasons you mentioned. I tried for years to get my family to make real cranberry sauce but they were bounded determined (heavens knows why) to have the jelly version. Honestly I would see it down at the end of the table and think about the cornstarch fake blood goop we would make for theater productions. Uck!
    Yours looks and sounds amazing with the addition of orange. I’m making it this year by golly!

  19. My grandmother always has something like this, as well as the traditional can-shaped cranberry ‘sauce,’ on the Thanksgiving table. Hers has chopped roasted pecans in it, too, and it’s fantastic. It goes fast, while the canned stuff has one or two people pick at it mainly for nostalgia’s sake.



  20. Right on, Debra! Your descriptive powers are well-honed today. I just HATE canned cranberry sauce! However, I must admit to sort of liking the “awful sucking sound” as it comes out of the can. Last Thanksgiving my sister made a savory cranberry sauce–yum!

  21. I will never go with the canned cranberry sauce-ever. I am working up my version for the holidays right now & I would adore yours! The apple chunks are a great idea!

  22. I’m with you, Debra! Never (ever) liked that stuff that sits on the t-giving dinner table. I don’t trust food that wiggles. There’s just something not right about it. But this recipe? This sounds fresh and healthy and tasty. I can tell already I’m gonna set the t-giving dinner table afire with this though. There are some hardcore cranberry sauce from a can people at my family dinner. Bringing this dish will be nothing short of blasphemy. I love it!

  23. My dad LOVES that cranberry sauce in a can. He always asked for it when my mom made a roast chicken. I always loved it too, but now that I’ve been a few years without it, I’m starting to agree with you. My mom has since started making a homemade cranberry relish similar to yours that has taken the place of the stuff in a can. My dad is so addicted she pretty much makes it constantly from Thanksgiving to New Year’s 🙂

  24. I have a confession to make. I *love* the cranberry sauce in the can. It wasn’t a special occasion thing for us. My nan served it all the time at lunch. Along with fresh sliced tomatoes and cottage cheese. It was one of her go-to sides next to every kind of sandwich you can imagine. On Thanksgiving, we had real cranberry relish or sauce, like what you’ve made here. But nothing takes me back to our family lunches like cottage cheese OR this cranberry sauce.

    • Awww Amber – I LOVE this story about you and your Nan – even though it involves my nemesis, the canned sauce!! Just an awesome story and I really do appreciate you sharing!

  25. I am a cranberry relish lover not sauce! My favorite one has horseradish mixed in. So, perfect on the sandwich leftovers.

  26. Yummy! I can almost taste it – tangy on the backsides of my tongue. ; )

  27. When I stated reading this, I was thinking, “She really needs to try Trader Joe’s cranberry sauce!” Haha! Definitely keeping this recipe. If it’s like TJ’s, I’m in!

  28. You are so right about that rude sucking sound the canned cranberry sauce makes. That in itself is enough to turn anyone off from it. I always felt like someone should say “excuse me” after it finally plopped out onto the plate. Blech.

    This is very similar to my homemade cranberry sauce recipe, but I never thought about adding walnuts! Delicious! I’ll definitely be trying that this year.

  29. This sounds so fresh and easy to make. And I like your different variations!

  30. Great salad for this time of year!

  31. I LOVE cranberries. I can’t wait to try this recipe, Debra. It looks like perfection!!!

  32. Your forgot to describe the wonderful sound the cranberry jelly log makes as its being sucked from the can. If that doesn’t work up an appetite, I don’t know what does. LOL Love your recipe for the good stuff. An apple is a nice touch!

  33. Nice! I’ve always loved this combination of flavors – and I’ve got cranberries stashed in the freezer, too! 🙂

  34. Ha Ha Ha yes you are totally right! I make my own homemade and I love it but now I have to try yours! Apple? Love the addition! Great recipe!

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