Posted by: A Part of the Solution | November 24, 2010

Cranberry Sauce and Relish

I’m celebrating Thanksgiving, my first on this farm. I’ve got an extensive, but not elaborate menu. I’m focusing on farm products and farm produce–but I’m not being didactic about it.

‘m serving a turkey and a ham (Hi Bobby!) with dressing and baked curried fruit, respectively. We’re having pan gravy and a vegetarian mushroom gravy. We’re serving oatmeal rolls, sautéed carrots, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts with chestnuts, butternut squash soup, and green salad (since the garden is still providing) with vinaigrette.

For dessert there will be pecan pie, pumpkin pies (both with and without bourbon), and my green tomato mock mincemeat pie–with freshly whipped cream for anyone who wants it. Not a small meal, certainly, but not a Lucullan production by any means.

And I’m having cranberries, of course. I’m serving cranberries two ways. I’m having cranberries in a cooked sauce. And I’m having cranberries in a raw, sugar-cured relish. I just couldn’t bring myself to choose between the two; as I had lots of cranberries–I didn’t have to.

Cranberry Sauce

1 pound of cranberries, picked through and washed

1 lime, zest and juice both

1 tangerine, juice only

2″ peeled ginger, grated on the micro-plane

1/2 cup water

2 cups of sugar

1 pinch of salt

Put all the ingredients into a three quart sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat, so the stuff doesn’t boil over and allow it to boil for about 7 or 8 minutes, until it’s somewhat thickened and most of the berries are popped. Cool and serve. It holds fine in the fridge for a couple of days. And makes about 3 1/2 cups.

For a more classic sauce, substitute a half cup of orange juice and two teaspoons of orange zest for the lime and tangerine above.

For a more avant garde sauce, use grapefruit zest and juice and stir in 1 handful of minced mint or basil when you remove the sauce from the heat.

Cranberry Relish

12 oz cranberries, picked through and washed

1 orange, or tangerine, cut into 8 segments with the skin still on and the seeds removed

1 pinch of salt

1 cup of sugar

Pulse half the cranberries and half the citrus in a food processor until it is well-mulched without being paste. Scrape it out into a medium bowl and process the other half of the berries and citrus. Stir in the salt and sugar. Pack this into an airtight container and let it sit in the fridge for a day and a half to two days. The sugar ‘cures’ the berries so that they have a pleasing texture and flavor when they’re fully done. This makes about three cups when it settles.



  1. Okay, so I’ve got the sides under control but how the hell do you make a turkey taste good? Brine? Dry rub? Overnight salt rub? And what temp/time combo works best? Or should I just give it up and accept the fact that turkey is basically an unpleasant-tasting bird?

    • Without brining (which is easy to look up on the interweb), you can butter the turkey UNDER the skin (and minced herbs as well as salt are a nice addition here), oil it over the skin, put it on a rack, breast side down, at 450° for the first hour. Cover loosely with aluminum foil. Reverse the turkey after two hours (temp now 325°) and cook until you achieve the desired internal temp on the thigh meat. The foil comes off for the last hour–and an extra basting ensures a pretty skin!

  2. Ok, I’ll try that method but I remain skeptical… I want to try brining sometime but then you can’t make pan gravy because of all the salt. And I love pan gravy. Also, I’m afraid Gertrud and Wolfgang will think it’s too salty. They don’t use salt so just about everything I cook is too salty for them. Then I have my Dad who finds fault with everything I cook- even my apple pie! It’s always, “needs more cinnamon,” or, “the apples aren’t crisp- your mom’s apples were crisp.” Argh!

    • Some people use a piece of doubled cheesecloth soaked and basted in butter until the last hour. With this method, the bird gets pretty brown, but the lacquering is off the hook.
      I know what you mean about Goldilocks syndrome such as your father has. I am more afflicted with people who wait until the dish is served to say things like “why aren’t there any raisins in this” “or how come you didn’t use pecans in that”–and these are people (ahem) who are around and active in the preparation process.

  3. Oh, and Thanks!

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