We love making tasty relishes around the holiday season. There’s nothing better than topping a cracker with some hot brie and a scoop of flavor-packed relish. We love this cranberry jalapeño relish because it’s tangy, sweet, and the heat level is easily adjustable.
Here in CT, cranberries are in season from October through December. At this time, cranberries are plentiful and we usually have some peppers kicking around from our final harvest in the early fall.
This relish can be served at Thanksgiving alongside turkey, or added to a sandwich packed with leftovers. We like to serve it at holiday parties, or even give it as a gift in a nice jar.
This is a no-cook recipe, making it very easy to prepare. However, it does need to sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours before serving. This will ensure the perfect consistency and the harmony of all the flavors.
Why you’ll love this relish:
- It’s no-cook and easy to prepare ahead, making it perfect to bring to a holiday party.
- You can adjust the heat level easily by leaving in or removing the pepper innards.
- It’s very versatile. You can add it sandwiches, or serve it on crackers with hot brie. We even tried some on a turkey burger with delicious results.
- It’s unique and a true crowd pleaser. This isn’t any old relish you can buy from the store!
- Fresh cranberries – The star of the show! Fresh cranberries are the bulk of this recipe and add that irresistible tart and tangy flavor to the relish.
- Jalapeño peppers – It wouldn’t be a recipe on Pepper Geek without peppers, right? We like using jalapeño peppers, but you could also use serrano for a bit more heat. Leave in as many seeds as you would like to play with the heat level.
- Apple cider vinegar – Vinegar helps enhance the flavor and zing of the relish while also adding the necessary liquid.
- Red onion – The bite of the red onion is mellowed out after being in the fridge for 24 hours.
- 1 large orange (juice and zest) – We love the way citrus plays with cranberry. In fact, we usually add fresh orange juice when making homemade cranberry sauce as well.
- Sugar – Without sugar, this recipe would be quite bitter and tart. We have not experimented with any sugar substitutes yet, but if you do, please let us know how it turns out!
- Salt – You can adjust the salt to taste and add more when the relish is done sitting.
- Ground ginger – Ginger adds a different kinds of spice to the recipe. You can use a bit fresh ginger instead if you want.
- Ground coriander – Coriander has a beautiful citrusy flavor and plays nicely with the ginger and mustard seed.
- Whole mustard seed – The whole mustard seeds will soften up after sitting in the relish for a day or two, and a little goes a long way!
How to make cranberry jalapeño relish:
Step 1: Sort through the cranberries and pick out any that are overripe (soft and squishy).
Step 2: Chop the jalapeños. Cut off the tops and remove the seeds and ribs. Mince the flesh into even, small pieces. This can also be done in a food processor, but the pieces will not be as even. Chop up and add as much or as little of the seeds and placenta (white, spongey part) as you would like for extra heat. For a very mild relish with just a slight kick, leave the jalapeño seeds out entirely.
Step 3: In a food processor or blender, pulse the cranberries in short bursts until they are finely chopped, but not mushy. For more even results, it helps to do them in two batches, scraping down the sides with a spoon between pulses.
Step 4: Add the pulsed cranberries to a large bowl. Pour in the sugar, salt, mustard seed, coriander, and ginger. Stir to combine, fully incorporating the spices with the cranberries.
Step 5: Add in the minced onion, minced jalapeño, and orange zest. Stir well.
Step 6: Pour in the vinegar and orange juice. Stir.
Step 7: Cover (or transfer to a jar with a tight lid) and allow to rest in the fridge for at least 24 hours. Once flavors have matured, take a taste and adjust salt and sugar as needed. Store in the fridge and use within 1 week.
Let us know if you try this recipe or any variations you have made. It’s a favorite in the Pepper Geek household and we can’t wait to hear your thoughts!
Cranberry Jalapeño Relish
- 12 oz fresh cranberries, washed and dried
- 8 oz fresh jalapeños (about 4-5 large) minced
- 1/4 cup red onion minced
- 1/3 cup granulated white sugar
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 1 tsp whole mustard seed
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- zest of 1 orange
- Sort through the cranberries and pick out any that are soft or mushy
- Cut off the tops and remove the seeds and ribs of the jalapeños. Finely mince the flesh into even, small pieces. Chop up as much or as little of the seeds and ribs as you would like for extra kick. For a very mild relish with little to no heat, leave the seeds out.
- In a food processor or high powered blender, pulse the cranberries in short bursts. You want them finely chopped but not mushy.
- Add the pulsed cranberries to a large bowl. Add in the sugar, salt, mustard seed, coriander, and ginger. Stir to combine and fully incorporate with the chopped cranberries.
- Add in the onion, jalapeño, and orange zest. Stir to combine.
- Pour in the vinegar and orange juice. Stir to combine.
- Cover and allow to rest in the fridge (or transfer to a jar with a tight lid) for at least 24 hours.
- Once flavors have come together, taste and adjust salt and sugar as needed.
- Store in the fridge and use within 1 week.
- If you want a smoother sauce: Once everything is chopped you can pulse it all together in a food processor or blender. Do not use a continuous setting or it will become completely pureed.
Crystalyn loves spicy food and getting creative in the kitchen. When she isn’t finding new ways to use hot sauce, shes very busy watching cat videos on the internet.