Cranberry-Orange Relish/Sauce

Cranberry Bog

Cranberry Bog

by Cat, Dec 2007 (photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

This is a must for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, instead of canned cranberry sauce or gel. It goes will with fish, poultry, and game.

Cranberries are closely related to blueberries and huckleberries and are very healthful, being rich in vitamin C, manganese and antioxidants. They also help to prevent urinary tract infections. (See also World’s Healthiest Foods on cranberries (2) for lots more about the benefits of this fruit).

See also my fermented version of this recipe: Fermented Cranberry-Orange Relish. Mmmm! It has a bit of zing, and is an excellent type of probiotic food. For a healthy gut, it is important to have a small spoonful (or more) of any fermented food with each meal (just a small spoonful).  See my Fermentation Menu for other ideas.

See also: 1. Fermented Cranberry-Orange Relish; 2.Red Currant & Cranberry Sauce; 3. Sides & Condiments Menu; 4. Curing, Culturing, Fermentation & Tonics Menu

Cranberry-Orange Relish

Cranberries are a rich source of natural pectin; they thicken the relish on their own – no need to add pectin or starch.

I used to make my cranberry sauce with sugar, but now that I’ve discovered stevia, I use a mix of stevia extract powder and sugar. Most recipes require the equivalent of ⅔ -¾ cup sugar for 2 cups cranberries (depending on your taste). I use only ⅓ cup sugar plus stevia; the proportions I list are not hard and fast.   Remember that ½ – 1 tsp stevia extract powder (depending on brand) has the same sweetness as 1 cup of sugar! Refer to my Stevia article for more on cooking with this sweetener.

You can make this with spices or just the fruits. I like to use grated fresh ginger, or ground, dried ginger, with just a bit of cinnamon or clove. Allspice is another alternative, especially if serving this relish with lamb.

Ingredients & Equipment:

(Amounts in parenthesis are for half recipe, about 1 cup of the relish/sauce)

  • 2 cups (1 cup) organic cranberries, whole
  • 1 orange, (½ orange), juice and zest plus filtered water to make 1 cup (6 – 7 Tbsp liquid),
  • ¼ -⅓ cup (1 Tbsp), or to taste Rapadura or other minimally-processed dried sugar cane juice, or white cane sugar plus ⅛ tsp (tiny pinch) stevia, or to taste; OR ½  –  ¾ cup (¼-scant ½ cup) sugar and no stevia
  • Optional spices: ⅛ – ¼ tsp (pinch-⅛ tsp) each clove, allspice, ginger and/or cinnamon
  • Equipment
  • 2 quart saucepan
  • glass jar with lid
  • orange juicer
  • grater for zesting


Note: when half recipe differs from full recipe, the half recipe instructions are in parenthesis.

  1. Clean & rinse cranberries, throwing out any that are shriveled or bruised.  Place in saucepan.
  2. Grate the zest of the orange to make about ¾ (¼-½) tsp.  Add to cranberries.
  3. Cut orange in half (half-orange in half – as quarters); juice both halves (quarters) into a glass measuring cup; add enough filtered water to equal 1 cup (less than ½ cup).
  4. Add sweetener and desired spices; stir well.
  5. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to simmer, and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes or so, until most of the berries have popped.
  6. Turn off heat and let sit in pan for a few minutes to cool a bit, then:
    1. If ready to serve, scoop into serving container;
    2. If want to store in refrigerator for later, scoop scoop into the glass Mason jar, but let cool thoroughly before screwing on the jar lid.  Store in refrigerator overnight, or until ready to serve.

Testing half-recipe (12/24/22)

  1. Place 1 cup Organic, cranberries (used frozen, slightly thawed, whole) in saucepan;
  2. Add ½ naval orange (juice and zest) plus filtered water to make ½ cup liquid.
  3. Add 1 Tbsp maple syrup plus pinch stevia powder; and pinch-⅛ tsp each powdered spices: clove, ginger, and cinnamon.
  4. Stir to combine, then place over medium high heat, and bring to boil.
  5. Reduce to simmer and cook uncovered ~5 min; most of the berries should pop open. However, it needed to cook just a bit longer to pop must of the berries open, about 7 min total.
  6. Off-heat and let rest to cool; then transfer to Mason jar.

Result: A bit too much liquid; next time go for 6 – 7 Tbsp; I updated half-recipe ingredients. Taste is just right – not too tart nor too sweet.

Sources and References:

  1. Catherine Haug recipe collection
  2. (World’s Healthiest Foods), on cranberries

About Cat

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