Cranberries are back.

It’s time.  Can you taste it?  That tongue-titillating tartness?  Cranberries are back. Whether you love them or hate them, cranberries are a practically indispensable part of Thanksgiving.  But really, they are so much more.

Cranberries are an autumn pick-me-up, little bombs of shocking flavor that can be added into applesauce, baked in muffins, made into jam and slathered on your sandwich, eaten with granola and yogurt, or even by the spoonful whenever you need that jolt of it’s-okay-that-summer’s-over feeling.  Winter’s coming but it doesn’t need to be all butter and braising.  Just because we’ve got to make do without raspberries and watermelon doesn’t mean we still can’t have a little fun.

This cranberry relish in particular is fun with a capital “F”.  White cranberries (cranberries harvested after they’ve matured, but before they turn red) are joined with candied grapefruit peel and grapefruit juice, cooked until the berries “pop!” and sassied up with mint.  To say it’s refreshing is a serious understatement.  This cranberry relish is practically electric.

Maybe too electric for the Thanksgiving table.  It’s a bit too dominating for turkey but the zing!-factor shines slathered over a pork tenderloin, or even a flank steak.  Better yet, serve this (warmed up a tad) over buttery pound cake.  You’d never know it wasn’t summer outside.

White Cranberry Relish with Grapefruit and Mint

Makes 3 cups//adapted from Bon Appetit, Nov ’08

  • 1 large pink grapefruit*
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups white cranberries (or red cranberries)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Using vegetable peeler, remove peel (pink-yellow outer layer only) from 1 grapefruit in strips. Cut peel into 2-inch-long, 1/8-inch-wide strips (about 1/2 cup). Squeeze 1 cup juice from grapefruits.

Stir 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Add grapefruit peel; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer until peel is soft, about 15 minutes. Add 1 cup grapefruit juice and cranberries; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until berries burst, about 10 minutes. Transfer to medium bowl. Stir in mint. Cover; chill until cold. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep chilled.

Bon Appetit uses 2 grapefruits, I only had one on hand.  I didn’t feel like I was missing out on any grapefruit flavor (it was very pronounced, actually) but feel free to use 2 instead of 1.

16 thoughts on “Cranberries are back.”

  1. Oooh, fabulous! Must remember to stock up on frozen berries this year. They always seem to disappear right after the holidays, but I think they’re good anytime.

  2. Hi Kitt:

    Thanks for commenting! If you can, buy the fresh cranberries. They’re not harder to cook then frozen and don’t take long at all. If you are using frozen, you may have to watch for the excess water in the package. Maybe don’t add any extra water?

  3. This on top of a pound cake sounds tasty indeed! I’d also love topping it on my cornbread, which sounds weird but I think that it would awesome.

  4. I look forward to thanksgiving more for the cranberry jelly than the actual turkey, haha!
    I’d opt for the buttery pound cake for this relish – it sounds heavenly 🙂

  5. Oh I love cranberries! I love the sound of this zingy concoction – and I love the sound of it on steak – I wouldn’t have thought of that. It sounds like it might just work REALLY well.

  6. My aunt makes something similar to this and I LOVE it!! But this almost sounds better (white cranberries? Yum!). I do love cranberry season…

  7. Susan: I was really impressed by how well they worked. I thought it might be too tart, but it was perfectly tingly.

    Tony: I’m sure you make a mean pound cake!

    Helen: I have to admit I would never have thought of it either – thank goodness for magazines!

    Jude: Juiced with vodka just might be better than this, I’ll admit! 😉

    Dana & Sara: I don’t really taste a difference between red and white cranberries (except for in the juices) so either would work

    katy: Yes, autumn. But I guess it’s not that much of a bummer when you have cranberries!

    RecipeGirl: I know, they look unripe. It’s so amazing that they pick them in that perfect stage between ripe and red.

    Ari: Oh, I’m working my way towards the pumpkin pie. 😀

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