Pickl-It Cranberry-Orange-Apple Relish

While my mother and aunts created sugar-rich cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, I much preferred my grandmother's traditional Swedish recipe, originally made by her great-grandmother who used raw lingonberries.

Image Cranberry Orange Relish

Since lingonberries weren't readily-available when they emigrated to Minnesota, cranberries were substituted.  

Using a counter-mounted meat-grinder, she ground raw cranberries and skin-on oranges, into which she mixed sugar.  The mixture was packed away into a covered crock, its flavors allowed to "meld and mellow" a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving.  

What was really going on was anaerobic-fermentation, creating tongue-tingling, rich-flavors that acted like a palate-cleanser during the traditionally fat-heavy meals.

Lacking her traditional covered-crocks, I've used the Pickl-It for the past seven years, modifying her recipe by adding favorite chutney flavors - diced apples, chopped walnuts, grated fresh ginger, lightly-roasted mustard seeds, nutmeg, cinnamon, and diced red onions.

The final texture, fresh-flavor and lactic-acid health-benefits of this recipe, has more in common with traditional East Indian chutneys, than the sugar-laden recipes of today.  The regular after-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich skyrockets in flavor when we add goat cheese and this relish - amazing flavors!

Cranberry-covered goat-cheese logs are $7.99 at our local cheese-shop.  Instead, I use our home-made goat cheese, warmed to room temperature, mixed with equal amounts of this relish for a great dip or cracker spread.

We've found so many uses for this relish, beyond turkey, that we now create this recipe in a 3-Liter Pickl-It.  If you have leftovers? It freezes beautifully.  

Still battling sugar-addiction? This recipe packs a punch of flavor that may help. Neuroscientists have discovered that bitter foods - both the cranberries, orange-rind and the lactic acid created in the Pickl-It during fermentation - reduce sugar urges by changing the chemistry of the tongue-receptors.   

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Image Cranberry Orange Relish IngredientPickl-It Cranberry-Orange-Apple Relish

1 3-Liter Pickl-It

3 lbs raw, whole cranberries
3 large organic-oranges

1 1/2-inches peeled, finely-minced ginger

1 1/2-cups walnuts or pecans
1/2-cup to 3/4-cup rapadura sugar
10 grams salt

2 medium apples - diced, skin-on
3 red small cippolini onions (red onions may be substituted)

3 3-inch cinnamon sticks
9 whole clove
4 whole allspice

  1. Wash cranberries removing stems, leaves and any discolored, soft or bruised berries.
  2. Pulse cranberries in 1-lb batches, using a food-processor with large-blade, or a hand-crank meat grinder, until finely-chopped.  Set aside.
  3. Trim blossom end from oranges; cut oranges into eights; remove seeds. Pulse in food processor with, skin and all, until finely chopped. Set aside.
  4. Pulse nuts, sugar and salt, until nuts are finely chopped.  
  5. Dice unpeeled apples.
  6. Add ALL ingredients, including cinnamon sticks, clove, allspice, apples, and nut, cranberry and orange mixtures.   
  7. Load 3-Liter Pickl-It with mixture.  Gently press mixture, using a wooden spoon, removing air pockets.
  8. Latch lid, fill Pickl-It airlock with water.
  9. Place on the counter for 2 days.  Refrigerate up to 1-month.  Freeze leftovers.

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To Learn More Graphic




History of Cranberries 

Medicinal Uses of Cranberries - University of Maryland

Bow Down to the Power of Cranberries - NPR

Food from Finland - Bilberries & Lingonberries