Recipe: Cranberry Pear Relish

by Jane Wangersky | November 11th, 2015 | Recipes, Simple Solutions

cranberry pear relishYou may remember from last year that I’m a fan of raw cranberry relish instead of cranberry sauce. For one thing, I’m less likely to get hurt making a dish that doesn’t involve boiling syrup. This year, I’m going with a slightly less sweet combination for the relish. The cranberries and ginger (ground this time) are still there, with maple syrup (straight from the fridge!) for sweetening instead of sugar, and a chopped pear to set off the stronger flavors. Also because those multi-pound bags of pears are showing up in our produce delivery again; guess who’s going to be eating cranberry-pear crisp once they eat through all the birthday cake and leftover Halloween candy, if any.

I was a little afraid this would be too sour, as ground ginger packs a lot of zing and the sweetening is fairly light. But the feedback I got was that it was just right to go with turkey. That goes for turkey sandwiches too, though personally I prefer this relish on my morning oatmeal. Well, I’m kind of an outlier in that way.

If you want to skip sugar in any form, you could try honey instead of syrup. I haven’t made it that way myself; while creating another recipe this week I was reminded that honey is a lot like glue in some ways, though of course it tastes much better.

One standard bag of cranberries is more than enough to make cranberry sauce or relish for a smallish family, especially if not everyone even likes cranberries, so it doesn’t hurt to think about uses for any leftover berries. Besides, they usually get nice and cheap after Thanksgiving — and I’ve read in the news that cranberry growers expect a surplus this year. You can make muffins and even cookies with fresh cranberries; chopping them up, plus the baking process, cuts down the tart flavor. Mixing them with sweeter fruits works too. Or you might just want to go on making different forms of cranberry sauce and relish, varying the spices, sweeteners, and other ingredients, till you come up with your new favorite for next Thanksgiving.

Cranberry Pear Relish

Yields 1


  1. 1 cup fresh cranberries
  2. 1 pear
  3. ¼ tsp ground ginger
  4. 2 tbsp maple syrup
  1. Pick over cranberries and wash.
  2. Peel pear and chop into (roughly) cranberry-sized pieces.
  3. Put in a food processor (steel blade) with remaining ingredients.
  4. Process a few seconds till mixture is medium coarse and well blended.
  5. Refrigerate.
Think Tasty

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