Cranberries are in season!
This means that I can finally whip up a batch of one of my favorite recipes… My mom’s cranberry-orange-apple relish!
And this year, I’ve added a twist: lacto-fermentation. This recipe is already incredibly yummy, and the fermentation adds both probiotics and a delicious effervescence.
If you make some now, it’ll be ready by Christmas dinner. 😉 And may I suggest doubling or tripling the recipe? I know you’ll love it!
You’ll need either whey or water kefir for the fermentation — water kefir provides a dairy-free option, and I actually prefer the results over that of using whey!
The amounts of fruit are very flexible. Once I had lots of cranberries, but not so many apples and oranges, so I made a cranberry-heavy batch instead. I did need to increase the sweetener.
For even more fermenting recipes and information, check out our Lacto-Fermentation eCourse as well as our archives.
Fermented Cranberry-Orange-Apple Relish
The amounts of fruit in this recipe are very flexible. Once I had lots of cranberries, but not so many apples and oranges, so I made a cranberry-heavy batch instead. I did need to increase the sweetener.
- 1 cup cranberries fresh or frozen
- 2 oranges peeled and quartered, seeds removed
- 2 apples washed and quartered, cores removed
- 1 to 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 cup rapadura or sucanat
- 1/4 cup whey OR water kefir* for dairy-free
Combine all ingredients in food processor.
Pulse to chop; don’t puree.
Pack into a clean, quart-size, wide mouth jar.
Wipe threads clean.
Screw on a lid and band tightly.
Let sit out on a cloth at room temperature for 1 to 3 days.
Daily, or as necessary, check for any mold growing on the surface and skim away, repacking carefully.
Taste for desired texture.
If the weather is very hot, fermentation may only take a day or so.
Burp the jar if necessary (to prevent explosions).
When you’re happy with the taste and texture, transfer to the refrigerator in an airtight container.
Will keep for a few weeks.
Repack the storage container carefully after each dipping.
Use this relish to top kefir or yogurt, breakfast oatmeal, toast, pancakes, or waffles! Or, eat alongside grilled poultry, beef, lamb, or pork.
Have you ever fermented cranberry relish before?
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This looks yummy. How do you get whey? I have milk kefir but not water kefir. Can I get whey from milk kefir?
Julie — Yes, you can use the whey from dairy kefir. Either yogurt or kefir will work. Line a colander with fine cheesecloth or cotton. Put it inside a pot to catch the whey that will drip out. Pour kefir or yogurt into the cheesecloth. Tie up the ends. Use the whey that drips into the pot for this and other ferments (or soaking grains or bread). The kefir will be thicker like a soft cheese, which is delicious in dressings, spread on toast (add some salt and herbs), or as a dip (herbed up). This will take 12 to 24 hours at room temperature, depending on the thickness of the weave. If the weave is coarse, the yogurt/kefir will slip right through, so make sure it is fine. If you’re able to hang the bag of kefir, it will go much faster. If you can do it in the fridge, the resulting whey and cheese will be less sour.
Oh gosh, this looks sooo good! I am going to get the ingredients and make this tonight! Hope it’s done in time for Christmas…yum.
Congrats on the Internet radio spot. I am going to try to tune in. How great!
Looks yummy. I am trying to “wake up” my water kefir grains. I had it in the freezer for a few months. I’m on the second fermentation, not real sure that batch has live culture. My family likes it a little sweet. My house is a little cool? Yesterday I took the kefir grains out of the bag, put some crushed up egg shells and some molasses in with the organic sugar. I think those are some of the suggestions from the forum.
Have you had good luck using grains after they have been in the freezer?
Erin — I have never had a problem with frozen water kefir grains. 🙂
Sense of Home says
This sounds very good and I have all the ingredients too!
This looks great! I’m always looking for fermented recipes. My kids will eat salsa and ketchup, but turn their noses up at the veggies. They might do cranberry relish though. I know I will!
Sense of Home says
Congrats on your radio show invitation, I am really looking forward to listening in.
This turned out so amazing! Honestly, this is one of the best lacto-ferments we’ve had yet…even my five year old like it. Really great! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe.
Irene Mish says
Is there something that you can use instead of the whey of kefir? I don’t have either on hand.
Irene, I really don’t think so. I suppose you could *try* raw apple cider vinegar, but the organisms in ACV produce vinegar (acetic acid) rather than lactic acid (for lacto-fermentation). Still, it would be a ferment of sorts and probably taste good. You might need to go light on the amount of the ACV.
Fruit ferments cannot be done without an innoculation of the organisms in whey, water kefir, or a powdered starter, because of the sugar content. The innoculation with a cultured start makes sure that negative organisms attracted to sugar do not flourish.
I have done fruit ferments without using any starter culture at all. Works just fine with a regular salt brine. For example . . .
1 qt mixed fruit of your choice, chopped into bite-size pieces (let grapes whole)
2 t sea salt
Juice of 1 lemon
small amount of chopped cilantro
1 – 2 hot banana peppers, finely chopped
3 -4 cloves garlic, minced
3 T freshly-grated ginger
Optional: 1/2 c cashews or other nut of your choice
Pack into a jar. Press down so the brine rises (add water if needed). Put an air-lock lid on the jar and let stand on the countertop. You can taste it every day until it reaches your desired level of fermentation. I like it best at 3 to 4 days. Then, store in the fridge. YUM!
Tried this one again tonight, with blueberries instead. Yum with cottage cheese! Can’t wait for the rest to ferment….
This is a fantastic recipe. I didn’t have enough cranberries, I only had about a quarter cup, so I substituted raspberries for the remainder. It turned out FANTASTIC! Thank you so much for sharing this. It is the very best fermented recipe I have tried. I will be making this A LOT!
I’m going to try this! What I’d like to know, is it better with a certain type of apple? Are sweeter apples better than tart ones? Or vise versa? Thank you. 🙂
Marg — Any type of apple works great. If you want a tarter chutney, choose a tart apple and vice versa. It does make very good use of tart apples! We prefer firmer apples, if anything, for a firmer/chunky chutney.
Liz J says
Hi Wardee ~ I am new to fermenting and would like to make your cranberry orange relish. Would it be okay to add some chopped walnuts to this or would it throw things off?
Liz — That is definitely okay!
I made this and it’s still on the kitchen counter … day 2 … should I be seeing any signs of bubbling? If not, I’ll go ahead and put it into the fridge. Can’t wait to try it!
I have never seen a recipe calling for water kefir before. Would it work in other fermented food recipes to use water kefir in place of whey? I have a diary allergy so can not use whey and am just wondering if the water kefir would work for things like mayo, ketchup, sauerkraut, etc. If it can be, would the same measurement work (1/4 cup whey = 1/4 cup water kefir)?
Mischele — Yes, you can! This article has more info on dairy-free substitutes: https://traditionalcookingschool.com/2011/07/20/free-video-whey-what-it-is-how-to-get-it/
(You can use the grains themselves, too.)
I have a question… Is the sucanat necessary? I am eating strict GAPS and can’t do any sugar. Would it would ferment fine with honey? OR should I just leave out the sweetener all together and sweeten to taste with stevia AFTER fermenting. What do you think?
Leona — You can leave out the Sucanat. I wouldn’t do honey because honey needs to be diluted more so as not to interfere with fermentation (it is anti-bacterial). You can definitely sweeten to taste afterward with stevia.
Oooh, I just thought of another one. I have made kim chi in the the past and after the initial fermentation on the counter it is supposed to age in cold storage for 2+ weeks before it’s really good for eating. Is this the same or can you eat it right after the 1-3 days on the counter?
Leona — You can eat it right away, though I like to do kimchi for 3 to 5 days. If you have any difficulty digesting it, it is a sign that it needs more time. It will continue to get better as it ages in cold storage.
I will be making this for sure… although I will be adding some grated fresh ginger to mine. Thank you!
When it says “1/4 cup water kefir” does that mean the kefir grains or the liquid? Thanks!
Heidi — That means the liquid. You can also use the grains, though. 🙂
Do I need to start with raw food before fermenting, or could I use cooked rhubarb?
Wardee Harmon says
Jessie — You can use cooked foods for fermenting. Just keep in mind that you will ALWAYS need a starter culture because cooked foods don’t have naturally present beneficial bacteria anymore. You always need a starter culture for fruits, anyway, but I did want to mention this in case you consider doing it for a veggie ferment (like fermenting roasted beets, for instance).
Do you think I could substitute coconut sugar, as that is what I happen to have on hand? Thank you!
I am so excited about this! We actually have made this recipe since I can remember. When we went on Gaps we switched to using honey. I am excited to add the fermentation to it now! I made it this morning and realized afterwards that the raw honey I used as a sweetener might kill the water keifer… thoughts?
Wardee Harmon says
Katrina — If it was a small amount of honey it should be okay. I hope you enjoy it! 🙂
This looks and sounds awesome. I just made the other cranberry relish, like as in it just finished fermenting today and tastes wonderful!
Can’t wait to try this!
Wardee, this sounds amazing, with the addition of apple!
I have fermented my orange cranberry relish before, and the taste is fantastic. Adding apple will give it another dimension!
I have a suggestion. In the old days (????), my mom used to grind the whole orange with cranberries to make cooked cranberry orange ‘relish’. So with that in mind, I first zested the orange, and saved it, then sectioned the orange to remove the pith and membranes. Then added back in the zest. It gives a great orange flavor!
Thank you for your yummy and healthy recipes, I look forward to your posts, you are gifted!
I’d love to ferment more food, but the “lacto” is a problem for me as I appear to be allergic to fresh whey fluids but not to dairy. Have you considered writing recipes that are dependent on water kefir only for folks like me? Thanks! 🙂
Your link to receive the free list of fermenting recipes doesn’t seem to work for me and I would love to receive it. If there is another link that might work please let me know. I am new to fermenting and would love the information. Also, if I use a Fido jar will I still need to check it daily for mold? Thank you for your assistance in this matter.
I’m happy to help with this. You are trying to access the Cheat Sheet? It is a pop up so you’ll need to have pop ups engaged. You can also right-click on the link and choose the option to open in a new tab.
Just made this relish this week. Yummy! my first foray into fermented fruits.
Wardee… What about using Kombucha instead of the water kefir or whey?? I’ve done this in years past using whey, but this year as I looked at the recipe I thought, hmm… would kombucha work, if kefir does?
I’ve been doing this recipe for years now, and it’s still a favorite of ours! I always add pecans, and I always forget to put the apples and oranges on the bottom so that they get chopped up more. Chunky fruit and overly processed cranberries is a problem for me every year, but it always tastes delicious. I do 2-3x the recipe, serve 1/4 of it to my extended family, and my daughters and I eat up the rest for the following few days. We love it with everything from turkey to chia pudding to ice cream! Alone is great, too.
I used to love a raw (but not fermented) cranberry orange relish where you left the skin on. Could I leave the skin on the orange and grind it? I also have some quinces left and I’m gonna try to substitute one for the apple. This recipe is exciting to me. Thank you!
You can try with the skin on, I would make sure to wash it well and make sure there isn’t any wax on the skin. Let us know how it turns out! 🙂 ~Peggy, TCS Customer Success Team