Just Sayin’: Mother’s Cranberries – A Dish to Relish

I read Doni’s cranberry-orange relish recipe with great . . .um . . . relish?

I loved the canned stuff with the ridges. I think that was one of my favorite foods on the holiday table. (Oh, no , . . . now you all know how plebeian my taste really is.) But along about the age of 10 or so, my mother started fixing this very different cranberry treatment. At that point I eschewed the traditional jellied stuff and dove into the new replacement. It actually makes the after-holiday turkey sandwiches shall we say, sing. I’m for anything that sings, you know. It is piquant in taste and fun of texture on the tongue. OK,  I love the stuff.

A number of years ago, my mother was facing the end of her life with a terminal illness. She became ill the middle of May so I was able to take care of her the last three months she was with us. As mothers are wont to do, she kept apologizing for taking up my summer. I, in turn blessed her for having such great timing. One of the things we tackled that summer was the organization of her rather extensive recipe box. I made sure that her recipe for bread pudding, buttermilk pie and pear pie were there. Also her”slum gullion” as my dad had named it. It was the precursor of and long before hamburger helper, but spiced up with her touch and the entire family loved it. One of the things that I did not think about, it was summer after all, was the recipe for her cranberry-orange relish.

Fast forward to November and the preparations for Thanksgiving. Me fixing Thanksgiving Dinner on my own. No Mom to call for answers to my questions. I tore that recipe file apart. I looked under any kind of heading that I thought might be REMOTELY related. No recipe. Being resourceful and fairly experienced in the kitchen by this time, I figured that I’d pick up the ingredients that I knew to be in the dish and see if I could approximate it. So, I find myself at the grocery store. I know there are oranges in the dish, my first clue was in the name of the dish, so I pick up a couple of nice oranges. Next, I know there are fresh cranberries included, so off I go to pick up a bag or two of fresh cranberries. I pick up a bag. The first thing I do is turn it over to see if they give any tips on handling the fruit. . . . and what to my wondering eyes should appear?? Go ahead, guess. Yup, there it is in all its glory: CRANBERRY-ORANGE RELISH!! Thank you, Mom!!

An interesting little post script to that is that I seldom,if ever, find a bag of cranberries with that recipe on it. And oh, the recipe? It’s a pretty simple, down-home kind of recipe. Nothing gor-met about it, but I’ll share it anyway:

Adrienne’s Mother’s Cranberries

1 bag fresh cranberries
1 whole navel orange, or other orange if you’re careful to remove all the seeds
 Sugar to taste (about 1/2 cup)

 Cut the orange into eigthts or so.

Put a several pieces of the orange into a blender, along with about a quarter of the berries.

Pulse and scrape until the bits of orange rind are about pea-sized.

Add a little sugar. Scrape from blender into a storage container.

Repeat process until all of the orange and berries areprocessed. Add more sugar if needed.

Store in an air-tight container up to three days. Spoon into serving dish and, well, serve!

There are all kinds of options you can add: nuts, spices, liquor –  any or all.


Adrienne Jacoby

Adrienne Jacoby is a 40-plus-year resident of Shasta County and native-born Californian. She was a teacher of vocal music in the Enterprise Schools for 27 years and has been retired for 11 years. A musician all her life, she was married to the late Bill Jacoby with whom she formed a locally well -known musical group who prided themselves in playing for weddings, wakes, riots, bar mitzvas and super market openings. And, oh yes … she has two children, J’Anna and Jayson.

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