January 26, 2012

Citrus-Infused Cranberry Relish

I know what you're thinking: cranberries in January?!  

  1. First of all, YES, this post is all about cranberries.  
  2. Second, might I ask that you suspend your skepticism for just a moment and trust me?  
Please, give this recipe a read, and then place your judgment.  I would dare to say that after reading this post, you will be ready to rush to your grocery store and pick up one of the two remaining bags of cranberries in the whole supermarket!

I was going to give you a brief rundown of the benefits of eating cranberries; but the truth is, once I started doing some research I realized that there would be no way for me to summarize its marathon-long list!  So, instead, I'm going to give you a few links and leave it up to you to read more on the issue:

Thanksgiving...I guess that's the only time of year that 99% of people eat cranberries...especially cranberry sauce/relish.  Well, let me tell you a secret, I usually don't fall in the 99% category of most things, and cranberry-eating is no exception.  I like to "march to the beat of my own drum" (thus the reason that Bo calls me a "funny bunny" much of the time), so the fact that today is January 27th isn't going to deter me in the least from eating a cranberry or two.

This recipe all started with a bag of cranberries that I bought for Thanksgiving, never used, threw into the freezer, and forgot about for almost three months.  On Tuesday night, Bo was at work and I knew I would be home alone for dinner.  I was already making couscous with pine nuts, roasted squash and carrots, and pinto beans with green chile sauce.  But, I felt like something was missing.  Something tangy and sweet, and something red to round out the color-palette on my plate.

I checked the fruit basket...nothing.

I checked the vegetable drawers...nothing.

I checked the pantry...nothing.

I checked the freezer...and BAM!

There they were!  Perfectly frozen, red, round, tart cranberries just waiting to be made into something delicious.  I also had an orange on hand that needed to be used.  My wheels started turning, and here is what I ended up concocting:

Citrus-Infused Cranberry Relish
Serves 4-6

1/4 C orange juice
1/4 C water
2/3 C succanat (or sugar)
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1-2 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp cinnamon
8-10 oz. fresh cranberries (depending upon how tart you want it)

  • Place orange juice, water, and succanat into a medium saucepan.
  • Over medium high heat, stir until the succanat has dissolved and a simple syrup has been made.
  • Add in the lemon juice, cinnamon, and cranberries.
  • Reduce heat to medium low; and cook until cranberries "pop" and begin to break apart, forming a relish.
  • Stir in the orange zest.
  • Serve hot or cold, depending upon your preference.

Later that evening I decided that I could also eat the Citrus-Infused Cranberry Relish for breakfast.  I started thinking about how much I love dressing/stuffing with cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving dinner, and it hit me!  I could make a breakfast version of one of my favorite comfort-food flavor combinations.  And that, my friend, is how a recipe is born. :)

Cranberry and "Dressing" Overnight Oats
Serves 1

1/2 C oats
2 stevia packets
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Dash of salt
Pinch of allspice
Pinch of cloves
2 C liquid (I used water)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp butter extract
2 T Citrus-Infused Cranberry Relish, for garnish

  • Add oats, stevia, cinnamon, salt, allspice, cloves, and liquid to a medium saucepan. 
  • Heat over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes until beginning to bubble.
  • Turn down heat to low.
  • Add vanilla and butter extracts.  Stir until smooth.
  • Pour into a Tupperware, or other container, and store in refrigerator overnight.
    • Note:  The oats will not be fully cooked at this point.  Overnight, the oats will absorb the remaining liquid, continue to cook, and become voluminous and fluffy.  YUM!
  • In the morning, stir in a splash of milk to loosen the oats.
    • Note: I prefer my oats cold. Weird, I know, but I like what I like!  If you prefer warm oats, at this point you may choose to heat them up either via stove top or microwave.
  • Dollop the citrus-infused cranberry relish onto the top of the overnight oats.  You may swirl it in if you prefer. :)

So what are overnight oats, you might ask?!  Well, it is only my favorite way of all time to prepare oatmeal.  By half-cooking the oats, and then letting them soak overnight to absorb the remaining the liquid, the oats become soft, fluffy, voluminous, and far easier to digest.  Here is a scientific explanation of the benefits of soaking your oats:
All grains contain phytic acid...in the outer layer or bran. Untreated phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron especially zinc in the intestinal track and block their absorption. This is why a diet high in unfermented whole grains may led to serious mineral deficiencies and bone loss...Soaking allows enzyme, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to break down and neutralize phytic acid. As little as seven hours of soaking in warm acidulated water will neutralize a large portion of phytic acid in grains. The simple practice of soaking cracked or rolled cereal grains overnight will vastly improve their nutritional benefits. (source)

OK - so enough of the fancy scientific jargon.  The point is, soaking your oats is both good and yummy (which, let's be honest, is all we really care about anyway)!

Next up - a vegan-ized family recipe.  You won't want to miss this one!

Question of the Day:

Do you prefer canned cranberry sauce or cranberry relish (like the one in this post)?!

Ally and Bo


  1. Hey I just noticed my gourd is in your new design. COOL!

  2. I know, cool right?! I love that the new design still uses some of my old pictures!