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Cranberry and Pomegranate Relish | Raw and Cooked Option

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Cranberry relish… you either love it or you don’t. It’s the neglected, afterthought condiment to most Thanksgiving meals, but no holiday table is really complete without it. Let’s face it: nothing says holidays with the family quite like the “sluuurrrp” of a can-shaped blob of ruby-red jelly plopping onto Grandma’s fine china.

raw vegan Cranberry and Pomegranate Relish

Well, no more! No more jiggly, can-shaped cranberry sauce. This easy and delightful recipe takes only 15 minutes to make and a handful of ingredients! Cranberry sauce is supposed to be a balance of sweet and tart. The sauce acts as a cleansing port in a tumultuous storm of fat and salt, which many holiday meals are filled with.

Fresh Cranberries

  • Select fresh cranberries to ensure the best flavor. They should be firm to the touch and a red to dark crimson color. You can always try the “bounce test” against a flat surface to ensure your ripe cranberries are nice and springy.
  • Fresh cranberries can be found in the grocery store about a month before Thanksgiving and hang around through Christmas. Frozen cranberries are available year-round. They’re picked at peak ripeness, so they’re just as good as fresh ones. Be sure to thaw them before using in the recipe.
  • Did you know that the sour taste in cranberries increases bile production from the liver? Bile breaks down fats into fatty acids, which can be taken into the body by the digestive tract.

Pomegranate Arils

  • The skin of the pomegranate is thick and inedible, but there are hundreds of edible seeds within. Each seed is surrounded by a red, juicy, and sweet seed covering known as an aril.
  • When choosing a pomegranate, look at weight, not color. The heavier the fruit, the more juice it contains–which means it’s that much more delicious.  Pomegranates stop ripening as soon as they are picked. If you would like to read how they grow, click (here) for a quick read.
  • You can find frozen pomegranate arils in the freezer section, too.
  • If you are new to opening pomegranates, click here is my quick and easy tutorial.

raw vegan Cranberry and Pomegranate Relish

Orange Juice and Zest

  • When creating this recipe, I knew that I would need a little liquid to get all of the ingredients moving so they could blend together. I opted for orange juice both for sweetness (to help offset the tartness of the cranberries) and for added health benefits.
  • Orange zest stimulates metabolism and reduces stomach stagnation–so it is effective for moving that “food baby” in your stomach after a hearty Thanksgiving meal.
  • Tip – be sure to zest the orange before juicing it.

Crystallized Ginger

  • Ginger was added to give a little helping hand to our sour friend, the cranberry… I used it to “heat” things up. Ginger stokes the digestive fire, it whets the appetite, and improves assimilation and transportation of nutrients to our body tissues.
  • Crystallized ginger is also known as candied ginger or glacé ginger (glacé means “icy” in French, and this ginger looks like it’s coated in ice crystals). It’s basically fresh ginger that has been cooked in sugar water and rolled in sugar.
  • If you are on the fence about adding ginger, start with 1/8 cup and taste test. You can always add more at the end.

raw vegan Cranberry and Pomegranate Relish


  • It is natural to add sugars to homemade cranberry relish to offset the tartness of the cranberries… but how much will be up to your tastebuds.
  • The orange juice and pomegranate arils will impart some sweetness, depending on how sweet they are in their raw form.
  • Make the recipe as is, then taste test. You can add more maple syrup if needed. If you don’t want the added sugars, stir in a few drops of NuNatural liquid stevia to help brighten things up.

Tips and Tricks

  • To combat bitterness: Before adding more sugar, sprinkle with a pinch of salt (in small amounts, it intensifies sweetness).
  • If possible, make this relish up 1-2 days in advance to enhance the flavor.
  • Sort through the cranberries before using them, removing any soft or shriveled ones. Also make sure that if you come across any cranberries with a stem, pick them off and discard.
  • If you add more sugar to the recipe and it ends up too sweet, add a tiny splash of fresh lemon juice. Give it a stir and taste test. You can add more, just be very light-handed with it. The acidity will tone down the sweetness and give the relish a brightness.

Cooked Version

  • If you wish to heat the cranberry relish to deepen the flavor, add 1/2 cup of water to the recipe.
  • Bring it to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes. The color will deepen once it’s done cooking.
  • Let the relish cool before refrigerating to completely set.
  • You will want to serve the relish at room temp or chilled.

May your days be blessed, amie sue

raw vegan Cranberry and Pomegranate RelishIngredients:

Yields 3 cups

  • 3 cups fresh cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 Tbsp orange zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 3 Tbsp coconut crystals (sugar)
  • 1 cup pomegranate arils (seeds)
  • 1/8-1/4 cup dried crystallized ginger, diced small
  • 1 tsp fresh minced mint


  1. Pour the cranberries into a colander. Rinse and throw away any that are squishy rather than firm; drain thoroughly and set them aside.
  2. In the food processor fitted with the “S” blade, combine the cranberries, orange juice, maple syrup, and coconut crystals.  Pulse until the cranberries are coarsely chopped.
    • When working with fresh ingredients, it is important to taste test as you build a recipe.  Learn why (here).
  3. Place in a serving dish and stir in the pomegranate arils (seeds), orange zest, and mint.
  4. The cranberry relish can be served chilled or at room temperature, and it will keep in the fridge for several days. Enjoy! And have a glorious Thanksgiving feast!


I had some leftover Cinnamon Vanilla Bean Frosting in the fridge so I scooped it into a pop cycle mold along with some of the cranberry relish… froze it and made some delicious afternoon treats.

9 thoughts on “Cranberry and Pomegranate Relish | Raw and Cooked Option

  1. marysteinborn says:

    Hi Amie Sue, this recipe looks wonderful. How do you make the sweetened ginger, or do you buy one that has regular sugar? I don’t a dehydrator where at my mom’s and also don’t eat refined sugar.

    Thanks much, as always,


    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Mary,

      I provided a link in the ingredient list on how to make your own, but I used a dehydrator. I haven’t tested it in an oven. You can look at your local grocery stores to see what they have on hand, but the best I can find already made is with organic cane sugar. So it doesn’t appear that either of the options that I suggested will work for you.

      You can omit the crystalized ginger and maybe just add a 1/4 tsp of ginger powder or 1 Tbsp of minced fresh. Taste test to see if you need to balance the heat with more sweetener. I haven’t tested this but that would be my recommendation.

      Happy Thanksgiving! amie sue

      • marysteinborn says:

        Thank you so much Amie Sue. For some reason I didn’t see the link– thank you. I think I may try doing it on the lowest heat in the oven, even though it wouldn’t be raw. Definitely don’t want the sugar. Excited to try this for tomorrow. :) Happy Thanksgiving!


      • marysteinborn says:

        Thank you so much Amie Sue. I think I may try doing it on the lowest heat in the oven, even though it wouldn’t be raw. Definitely don’t want the sugar. Excited to try this for tomorrow. :) Happy Thanksgiving!


        • amie-sue says:

          Keep me posted how it goes Mary. Sending kitchen blessings over that oven. hehe amie sue

          • marycanary says:

            Hi Amie-Sue, I was just looking at comments and came across my own, from a few years ago. I can’t believe I never came back to tell you that this recipe is OUTSTANDING!! I’ve made it numerous times for a group of people that aren’t healthy-ish eaters.

            The first year they had another more typical cooked recipe too, as a back up. Well let me tell you, they had a lot of leftovers of the other recipe and the next year they requested this again. Then the following year when I wasn’t in town, they asked for the recipe for someone else to make it. It really is THAT good!!! I highly recommend it to everyone and the leftovers are also wonderful. Yum yum yum yum! That’s what I have to say.

            • amie-sue says:

              Good day Mary,

              What a pleasure to hear from you! I really appreciate it when people leave comments under the recipes they try. It supports the work I do and others can be inspired by those who try the recipes and not just take my word for it. :) Your story made my day and I just loved reading it. blessings and happy holidays! amie sue

  2. gracefulheather says:

    I made this for our family Thanksgiving meal and WOW, what a dish! I usually just wing it with a cranberry relish but decided to follow a recipe and was not disappointed! I was a little hesitant with the amount of ginger but it ended up really well balanced with the sweet and tart flavors throughout. I probably ate the majority of it myself! :) It was a beautiful contrast to the can shaped jellied cranberry that was also on the table from other family members… Thanks, Amie Sue!

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Gracefulheather,

      What is more gratifying then being able to say “WOW” after you take a bite of food? I love it. I understand how the measurement of fresh ginger might have thrown you for a loop at first. Raw ingredients play so differently and it takes a little bit to tweak the balance profiles. Thanks for trusting me. :) Now you have made me hungry for this recipe. hehe

      Have a happy day, amie sue:)

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