Crave-worthy Cranberry Relish

16 Nov

I know, it has been a hot minute. I am doing my best to keep up with life lately, and am getting back on track. Between midterms, viruses, and the time change I have been all kinds of foggy, but I’m back.

What snapped me out of my whirlwind-like funk? Well … It is almost Thanksgiving. So, what? Thanksgiving means three things: food, family, and giving thanks.

First things first, though. My hub and I just bought our very first home. It is spacious, yet cozy. It is warm, but pretty cool (we think). It is just right. It is perfect for family gatherings we hoped).

Now, for those of you who balance holidays between families, you know it is always an adventure. There are feelings involved, hierarchies, family ties, implicit rules, and so on. The hub can tell you how worked up I get over the holidays trying to accommodate everyone. Well, this year is different.

Since we are still getting settled in our new house we were hoping to have Thanksgiving at our house. We knew it would be a huge shift in scenery for both our families, but we had high hopes. Well, turns out this year isn’t the year for setting precedents, but hey – there is always next year. So instead of worrying I focused my energy elsewhere – on the food.

I always thought I’d do something really fancy, but this year needs to be easy, delicious, and comforting. We are trying to set the tone for our home, after all. So, what better to kick things off with a warm, tangy cranberry relish? It is easy to make, smells like cranberry heaven, and has a unique flavor.

 

Here we go:

1.5 c dried cranberries

1.5 c diced dates

1 c apple cider (I used Simply Apple – check it out here)

1 pinch nutmeg

1 pinch clove

5 black peppercorns

Before we begin, let me note that dates are sold whole or as dried little nuggets. I buy tubs of whole dates from Costco to have on hand in my pantry for a quick snack or to use in instances like this. Here is what I had in my pantry:

 

I then diced them up, a handful at a time. Nothing fancy. Although, I’m sure you could use a food processor or throw them in a Vitamix (which I’ll try next time).

 

Throw them into a saucepan with the cranberries, juice, and spices. Some of you may be wondering about the black peppercorns – trust me. They add a subtle depth to the flavor, but it isn’t overwhelming. It adds a nice touch.

 

I simmered my batch for nearly an hour. Wait – I brought it to a boil, reduced the heat to super low, then simmered for what felt like all morning. NOTE: I added more juice as necessary, but you could add more water or other flavors as well. My stove and I haven’t quite learned how to get along just yet, so I had to add more liquid here and there. Eventually, it looked like this:

 

It was thick, dark, and aromatic. I had enough to fill a pint-sized jar. It was perfect. I may double it for Thanksgiving, or make a giant batch as gifts, but the jar was more than enough to enjoy for now.

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