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My awesome cranberry relish, with help from a Ninja

Cranberry relish
I've been meaning to post this recipe for raw cranberry relish because it's one of my favorites, but hey, it's still the middle of the month and ...

Holy crap, Thanksgiving is next week! Time to get going on this stuff!

What I love about this cranberry relish is its intensity. The tartness of the raw cranberries, the heat of the crystallized ginger, the slight bitterness of the orange rind -- it's pretty much the opposite of the can-shaped cranberry sauce.

This is cranberry sauce

It's chunky, slightly sweet, spicy and pretty much amazing if you're a cranberry fan. In past years I added a little sugar to the relish but I recently discovered Swerve -- a natural non-caloric sweetener -- at a Whole Foods sample table. I subbed it in and it  worked beautifully.

Ninja ultima blenderWhat also worked beautifully was the Ninja Ultima blender. Me and the Ninjas go way back -- this is actually my fourth one, not counting the Ninja Cooking System (but that cooks stuff instead of chops stuff). The folks at Ninja Kitchen caught wind of my Ninja Love and sent me its latest Ninja blender to review. (So my sister gets the old one.)

The Ultima is Ninja's answer to the pricey Vitamix blenders -- it has the same horsepower as the Vitamix but instead of needing that "poking stick" to get the ingredients mixed, the Ninja has a dual-stage blade that thoroughly blends the food from top to bottom.

And since it's variable speed, you can use it like a food processor, too. That's what I did with this cranberry relish. As long as you keep it on the lower speeds you won't end up with a cranberry smoothie -- unless you want one, because it does amazing things with my complicated concoctions.

So, OK, back to the cranberry relish. Here's the recipe:

Raw Cran-Orange Relish

  • 1 navel orange, cut into chunks
  • 1 bag fresh cranberries
  • 1/3 cup crystallized ginger pieces
  • 1/4 cup Swerve (or sugar)

Cranberry relish orangesPut the orange chunks into the processor and pulse until you have pieces the size of the cranberries. That way you start with a level playing field and you won't have huge orange chunks in your relish.

Then add everything else and pulse until everything is combined and it's a consistency you like.

That's it!

Definitely make this a day or two before Thanksgiving because the flavors need a chance to meld -- and they really do. The orange rind and ginger mellow out a bit and the cranberries pick up the sweeteness from everything else. Plus the pectin from the cranberries thickens the relish a bit but not as much as when you cook cranberries. (SCIENCE LESSON!)

Not only is this great with your Thanksgiving spread, it's also delish mixed into plain Greek yogurt or atop a bowl of oatmeal.

Disclamer: I was sent a Ninja Ultima blender to review. All opinions are mine, all mine!