CranberriesCranberries are one of those items that almost gets overlooked when it comes to preparing (and eating) the Thanksgiving feast! When I was a teenager, I can remember my mom’s voice: it would be a day or two before Thanksgiving; she’s done all the shopping and about to start working in the kitchen, when she would exclaim, “*#@&*! I forgot the cranberries!!” Then she’d send my sister and me to the store to pick up canned cranberry sauce.

The truth is, cranberries are at least as important as any of the other dishes being served for dinner. The red color is very festive, vegans and omnivores alike love the taste (sweetening definitely helps), and they bring together all of the other dishes to create a cohesive, complete meal.

Cranberries also have powerful medicinal properties. Cranberries (unsweetened) are great to strengthen the genito-urinary tract, and help to prevent and treat urinary bladder infections. The sour flavor of cranberries helps to astringe essence to stop excessive sweating and unnecessary loss of fluids.

Cranberries also contain proanthocyanidins. These are condensed tannins that facilitate wound healing, strengthen the arteries, veins and capillaries, and improve blood circulation. They are potent antioxidants, protecting against cancer and many other degenerative diseases. This makes cranberries the star of the show when serving a multitude of rich foods.

But back to Mom. She started making her own cranberry relish to have on hand so that she would not forget this important element of the Thanksgiving meal. She has shared it with me, and I’m passing it on to you. Her recipe calls for sugar; feel free to substitute grade B maple syrup, honey, stevia, or a combination to suit your dietary needs.


1 package fresh cranberries (1 pound)
1 juicy orange (Mom likes Valencia oranges), sliced and quartered with skin on
About ¾ cup sugar
Water – enough to barely cover cranberries

  1. Put everything together in a pot; cover with water and stir to mix.
  2. Bring to a boil; cover and simmer until cranberries start to pop.
  3. Stir periodically to prevent sticking.
  4. Cook until it is the consistency you like.
  5. Let cool and transfer to a glass container with a lid.
  6. Cover and store in refrigerator.