fresh cranberry-pecan fruit relish

Growing up, our Thanksgiving table wasn’t complete without opening a can of jellied cranberry sauce, cutting it with a knife, and setting it on the table. It just wasn’t Thanksgiving without it!

I cringe now at the thought of jellied cranberry sauce. Fresh is so much better.

Cranberries, are small red berries that have a tart flavor and are used for sauces, preserves, beverages and baked goods, but most people associate them with Thanksgiving turkey and dressing.

I love to experiment with different combinations when making cranberry sauce. This recipe does not cook the cranberries at all, but uses fresh, along with fruit and pecans. The combination is a tart, sweet, crunchy and fruity relish which I find works very well with turkey and dressing.

Fresh Cranberry-Pecan Fruit Relish

  • 1 12-oz. bag of fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped and toasted
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 orange, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 8 oz. can crushed pineapple (drained)
  • 1/2 cup Grand Marnier or orange juice (fresh)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh shaved nutmeg

Heat oven to 350 degrees and toast pecans until fragrant (approximately 10-15 minutes). Cool and coarsely chop, set aside.

Place cranberries in a food processor.. Pulse 8 to 10 times or until mixture is coarsely chopped.

fresh cranberry-pecan fruit relish - chopped cranberries

Transfer to a large bowl and add zest

fresh cranberry-pecan fruit relish - orange zest

orange pieces, drained pineapple, Grand Marnier, sugar, cinnamon stick and nutmeg.

fresh cranberry-pecan fruit relish - melding flavors

Mix well to incorporate. Cover with plastic wrap, and let stand at room temperature for at least 6 hours. This will allow the fruit to macerate and break down into a sauce.

After 6 hours, taste and adjust sweetness with additional sugar if desired. Remove the cinnamon stick. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the cranberry relish (draining off most of the sauce) to a serving bowl and sprinkle with chopped pecans.

fresh cranberry-pecan fruit relish

Turkey is the easiest Thanksgiving leftover food to utilize, but what about the cranberries? Transform your leftover relish into a spread that works great with toast, crackers, biscuits, or even desserts. Place 4 ounces of softened butter or cream cheese in a bowl. Beat on high until smooth. Scoop in 1/2 cup of the drained cranberry relish and stir until combined. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

I hope you will give this Fresh Cranberry-Pecan Fruit Relish a try. This may become your favorite. Enjoy!