Best Healthy Cranberry Recipes For Thanksgiving And Christmas

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An Old Tradition Comes to Our Table

In Ohio during cold winters, the local Native North Americans used their dried cranberries and blueberries in a variety of dishes for their families. On the trail during a hunt, they took pemmican, which is a combination of berries, meat, nuts, and whatever fat is available - from goose grease to bear grease to today's butter - or even lard.

We have found cranberries and blueberries to give the human today many health advantages, so why not serve cranberries during the Winter Holidays? The recipes below are different than the cranberry sauce of your youth and you may enjoy them more than you can imagine.

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During cold winters, the eastern Woodlands groups of Native North Americans used their dried cranberries and blueberries in a variety of dishes.

Cranberry bog on a farm like that of my grandfather.
Cranberry bog on a farm like that of my grandfather. | Source
5 stars from 1 rating of Cranberry Recipes!

Cranberry Relish - an Alternative to Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 Bag of fresh cranberries, about 12 to 14 ounces these days.
  • 1 Cup water
  • ½ Cup sugar or honey (Half of the usual amount that most recipes require!)
  • 1 Medium-sized seedless orange, cut into small pieces, skin and all
  • 1 Small grapefruit, seeds removed, cut into small pieces, skin and all
  • 1 Large lime, seeds removed, cut into small pieces, skin and all
  • 1 Large lemon, seeds removed, cut into small pieces, skin and all

Making Pemmican at the Calgary Stampede

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Instructions for Cranberry Relish

  • Cut the fruits (except the cranberries) into 1-inch pieces after removing seeds.
  • Place all fruit into a medium to large non-reactive cooking pot.
  • Add water and sugar and mix thoroughly
  • Cook over medium-high heat until all of the cranberries have popped and the sauce has become moderately thick.
  • Remove pan from heat to the counter top and let it cool to room temperature.
  • Optional: Stir in ½ Cup nuts, if desired - walnuts or pecans.
  • Place relish in a food storage container or a covered bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. The cranberry relish will become thicker and the flavors will blend nicely.

Alternative Method For Cranberry Relish

1) Wash all of the fruits and place (with nutmeats if desired) into a food grinder.

2) Grind ingredients to a coarse chop and place into a large bowl.

3) Add honey or sugar and refrigerate overnight.

4) Easy! - No cooking necessary!

Cranberries, 1 Cup (8 ounces)

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1 Cup
Calories 46
Calories from Fat0
% Daily Value *
Fat 0 g
Carbohydrates 12 g4%
Sugar 4 g
Fiber 5 g20%
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 2 mg
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Cranberry Dip

Ingredients for a tart-savory dip you will love!

  • A 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries
  • ¼ Cup minced scallions or green onions
  • 2 Tbsp fresh jalapeno peppers with seeds removed, finely minced
  • ½ Cup plain table sugar
  • ¼ Cup cilantro leaves, coarsely minced
  • 2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger (or powdered/ground ginger is fine). One time, I used candled ginger and that was good as well.
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp onion juice
  • 1, 16-ounce Tub of cream cheese
  • Garnish: Washed and dried cranberries, mint & cilantro leaves, chopped chives.

Instructions

  • Rinse, drain, and check cranberries, removing any soft or bruised/odd-colored fruits.
  • Chop berries by hand or use a food processor on pulse, but not until they are mush, just chopped.
  • Put chopped berries in a large mixing bowl and add the juices, onions, jalapeno peppers, sugar, cilantro, ginger. Mix well with a large stirring spoon.
  • Place a piece of plastic stick-wrap over the bowl put the bowl in the refrigerate overnight to let flavors marry and mellow.
  • Next day, using a medium platter or relish tray, place cream cheese (you can even mold it with a gelatin mold for added interest) in the center and put the cranberry dip on top.
  • Surround the dip with slices of fresh baguettes, toasted if you like.
  • Garnish platter with a few whole cranberries, mint leaves and cilantro leaves, and chives.

I paddled a canoe through a cranberry bog at Buckeye Lake, Ohio and found the experience to be like visiting another world.

Cranberries in a bog.
Cranberries in a bog. | Source

Cranberry Pie

Ingredients for one of my most favorite pies.

  • A 12-oz. bag of fresh cranberries, washed and dried, chopped coarse
  • 2 Tbsp grated orange zest
  • 3/4 Cup milk
  • 1/3 Cup melted butter
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 1 Cup sugar or honey
  • 3/4 cup Bisquick-type baking mix (or you can make your own baking mix)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Spray a 10" diameter pie pan with a non-stick, low calorie cooking spray.
  • Mix the cranberries and orange zest together well.
  • Spread fruit into the pie pan.
  • Mix remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat the mixture until it is smooth.
  • Pour this mixture evenly over the fruit.
  • Bake 35-40 minutes (less for a glass pie pan than for a metal pan), until a kitchen knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and set the pie in refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight.
  • Serve with vanilla yogurt, whipped cream, or ice cream, if you like; but it is great without a topping.

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© 2015 Patty Inglish

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Comments 23 comments

Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 13 months ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

I love the idea of a cranberry relish in particular as an alternative to the premade cranberry sauce I have previously had to settle for in jars. Funnily enough, I saw fresh cranberries in my local supermarket in the run up to Christmas last year for the first time ever but didn't have a chance to buy some and experiment. You've convinced me to do so this year should they again be available.


drbj profile image

drbj 13 months ago from south Florida

I am so cranberry-brain washed, Patty, that I cannot enjoy turkey if cranberries in some shape or form do not accompany it. So a special thank you for sharing these 3 delicious-looking recipes.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 13 months ago from North America Author

@Gordon Hamilton - It is good to see you here! The relish is probably my favorite recipe, but a friend ate 3/4 of a cranberry pie in one sitting a few years ago. Cranberries are wonderful!

@drbj - I feel the same way, but no more cranberry jelly thing in a can for me! lol At least some brands have chunks of the berries :) The dip recipe is pretty good!


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 12 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Great recipes. Relish will be served your way in just a few days around here.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 12 months ago from The Caribbean

Patty, thanks for reminding what I will miss this year, seeing that I will not be in the USA for Thanksgiving! After the sigh, I appreciate the recipes. The dip would be the first I would try.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 12 months ago from North America Author

@Ericdierker - Hello to your family and I hope you all are delighted with this recipe. I love all the citrus-fruity flavors!

@MsDora - Happy Thanksgiving wherever you are! I think you will love the dip if you have a chance to use it.


Flipsgeraldine profile image

Flipsgeraldine 12 months ago from Houston, Texas

I am a yam's person on Thanksgiving day, but the cranberry relish sounds delicious.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 12 months ago from North America Author

@Flipsgeraldine - I like sweet potatoes without added sugar or syrup - like baked with cheese or sour cream or similar, so I usually have them as well as cranberry relish. I hope you get a chance to try it..


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 12 months ago from USA

My dad makes his own cranberry relish and it wouldn't be the holidays without it. He invented his own recipe.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 12 months ago from North America Author

As I did mine - I was very tired of canned gel.


Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 12 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Patty, these are delicious cranberry recipes. What great alternatives to add to the meal. Except for the jalapenos in the dip, the other two look possible contenders to have this Thanksgiving or Christmas season.


AshlyChristen profile image

AshlyChristen 12 months ago from Illinois

got any recipes for canned cranberries? I have a ton of it and no idea what to do with it


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 12 months ago from North America Author

@Kristen Howe - Just leave the jalapenos out of the dip. and it should be fine! Happy holiday meals!

@AshlyChristen - There is a recipe for making cranberry ice cream by using canned cranberries instead of strawberries in strawberry ice cream recipes. Other folks put the canned cranberries on top of vanilla ice cream or pancakes!


Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 12 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Thanks Patty!


AshlyChristen profile image

AshlyChristen 12 months ago from Illinois

thats not a bad idea! I may have to give it a try Thank you Patty


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 12 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Fisher Vardis wrote a book titled Pemmican until now I did not know what it meant. Cranberries are suppose to promote health in an important organ for men.

Thanks for ringing in the season.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 12 months ago from sunny Florida

O Patti, Cranberries are a favorite of my family's and mine. I have had the relish but not the other dishes. I am intrigued and will be trying these soon especially the cranberry pie...how clever that is..

Angels are on the way to you ps

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving

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rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 12 months ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

Thanks for introducing a couple of fresh new ways to use those delicious, nutritious, and historic cranberries. Cranberry dip! Can't wait to try it.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 12 months ago from North America Author

@pstraubie - Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. Enjoy your special meal, no matter what you have!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 12 months ago from North America Author

@rebeccamealey - I'm glad you might be trying these recipes. Happy Thanksgiving and good eating!


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 12 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Patty

These recipes sound great.

Lawrence


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 12 months ago from North America Author

Thanks for this comment, mckbirdbks! I just found it in the HP spam file by mistake.

Anyway, cranberries are also good for urinary tract infections in all genders. :)


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 11 months ago

I was just looking in my freezer wondering what to do with a bag of cranberries. I am going to make the pie recipe you suggest here. I just love the tart sweet taste of these berries. Thanks for sharing.

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