Recipe: This Fermented Cranberry Relish Adds Zing To The Holidays

Looking to liven up your holiday meals? This recipe for fermented cranberry relish adds a new twist to a seasonal standard.

by Stephanie Thurow
PHOTO: Marie Sonmez Photography/Shutterstock

This sweet and citrusy cranberry ferment is full of flavor. The deep red cranberry color of the finished fermented relish will surely brighten up any holiday plate. Incorporate this versatile relish into your meal as a side dish, or consider it as a condiment for turkey or pancakes/waffles, or even enjoy it over a soft cheese on a cracker or crunchy bread.

It even makes a great sandwich spread for holiday leftovers.

Yield: 1 pint


  • 3 cups whole fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 tsp. organic orange zest
  • 2 tbsp. fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 2. tbsp raw honey

Use a strainer to rinse cranberries well and discard any damaged, soft or unripe berries (pink or green colored). Use a food processor and pulse the cranberries until they are finely chopped. This will only take 2 or 3 seconds.

Transfer the berries into a clean pint canning jar, and stir in the orange zest, juice and honey. Mix together well.

Wipe off the rim of the jar with a clean dampened towel to make sure to remove any food particles form the rim. Add the canning jar lid and tightly screw on the ring.

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Read more: This recipe for fermented applesauce makes good use of apple season!


This cranberry relish is a short 3-day ferment. Ferment at room temperature, ideally between 60-75°F (15-23°C), and keep out of direct sunlight.

“Burp” the jar as needed (as the pressure builds). Unscrew the lid briefly and tighten it back on to allow any built-up gas to release. Once a day, stir mixture and pat it down compactly with the back of a spoon in the jar. Replace the lid and tighten ring.

Taste test after three days to determine if the flavors have melded together and transformed into a bright and flavorful fermented relish. If not, let it go another day or day and a half and taste test again.

One sign that ferment is ready to eat is when the relish turns bright red. Once fermentation is complete, store the jar to the refrigerator. This ferment is best enjoyed within 2 weeks.

Read more: Check out these 10 tips for getting started with fermentation.

Side Notes

Frozen cranberries are not recommended for this recipe. Fresh is best.

Feel free to experiment with flavors by stirring in a tsp. of fresh grated ginger, 1/4 tsp. of ground cinnamon or 1/4 tsp. ground clove before fermenting.

Stir in your preferred chopped nut before serving the fermented cranberry relish.

This recipe has been adapted from Can It & Ferment It with permission from Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. Find more recipes for cranberry preserving in Stephanie Thurow’s other books, WECK Small-Batch Preserving and WECK Home Preserving.

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