Heartland Cooks - Linda's Cranberry, Orange & Pecan Relish

Thanksgiving is coming up and this week's Heartland Cook offers an alternative to canned cranberry sauce. Linda Gast of Jackson says her family hasn't had canned cranberry in years because there would be a family feud if she didn't make her Cranberry, Orange and Pecan Relish.  It is easy to prepare and a keeps well for up to two weeks, so you can cook it ahead of the craziness in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day.


  • 4 cups fresh cranberries
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Zest of one orange
  • 2 navel oranges peeled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ cup pecans


In a large saucepan on medium high heat, add cranberries, sugar, water, orange zest, diced oranges, and vanilla. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Watch the pot closely as the high-sugar content mixture can easily boil over.

Reduce heat to medium when cranberries start to crack and pop. Boil mixture 20 minutes until cranberries burst and become translucent. Add pecans and boil an additional 5 minutes.

If you are cooking in the days ahead of Thanksgiving store the relish in a mason jar with a lid. If you are cooking the day of your feast pour in a heat-safe bowl, cover and refrigerate.

Serve chilled.

Alternate method: Linda substitutes the water for 1 cup of red wine and removes the pecans for a more adult take on her Cranberry-orange relish.  

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