Fermented Cranberry Relish

Fermentation is the secret to this fresh sweet and sour cranberry relish. If you haven’t yet made a cultured food, let this foolproof recipe be your gateway to tangible kitchen magic. Yes, you can effortlessly transform the flavor and healthfulness of basic ingredients into a superior product.

Fermented Cranberry Relish
Fermented Cranberry Relish

I delight in the simplicity of this recipe and most often make it with just three ingredients. But I also enjoy embellishing it with ginger or other spices and by adding up to 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts. The just mixed ingredients taste tart, bitter and sugary. But fermentation reduces the sugar, heightens the berries’ own sweetness and gives the relish a feisty tang. There is no need to add a starter.

Yield: 3 cups

16 ounces (4 cups) fresh organic cranberries
1 organic orange, seeded and chopped; reserve 1/2 of the peel
2/3 cup honey or 3/4 cup cane sugar
1 teaspoon chopped ginger (optional)

Pick over the cranberries to remove any possible spoiled ones; wash and drain well. Place the berries, orange, orange peel, and honey in a food processor and coarsely chop (do not reduce to a puree). Add the ginger and/or nuts, if using.

Pack tightly into a clean wide-mouth jar. Cover and leave out at room temperature for 1 day. Taste it and use it now or, to increase its zesty flavor, let it ferment for an additional day or two. As it ferments the color deepens to a dark red. Periodically taste it (always with a clean spoon so you don’t introduce unwanted bacteria into your culture) to appreciate its increasing vibrancy. When the taste suits you, cover and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


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