Cranberry Salsa

This recipe is a variant on a family recipe for lingonberries, which Alaskans call cranberries because, well, they look and taste like them. Close relatives, so it’s not surprising. I still miss picking them, as a child, their little crisp leaves… Sigh. Homesick sometimes. 

This is not a cooked recipe, but it is best if it has time to fully ripen into it’s flavors, so I will make it up to a week ahead and let it stay in the fridge. It is most excellent with roast moose, but it’s also great with ham or turkey. Here you go! 

Cranberry Salsa

  • 2 bags fresh cranberries (unless you’ve got lingonberries, in which case, about a pound of them and frozen will work)
  • 3-4 oranges
  • 1 jalapeno (you were wondering ‘why salsa?’) 
  • 1/2 c sugar (if I don’t specify, it’s white)
  • pinch salt

I use a food processor, but my Aunt Moya uses a grinder. Either will work nicely. 

Zest the oranges, and put the peels in. Seed, stem, and roughly chop the jalapeno before adding it. If you want to actually add heat, use two. I usually just want the flavor, so I de-seed and only use one. Put in the sugar, then pulse a few times to get these all mixed and uniform. 

First stages – this smells amazing, by the way.

Then add in the cranberries slowly, pulsing, to break them down. Once it’s all in, keep pulsing rather than continuous chop. You don’t want puree, just consistent small pieces. 

This is the end result, not juicy or runny, although it will release some juice with the sugar

Should be made at least the night before, for optimal flavor. It’s tart, a bit sweet, and has more flavor than just ‘cranberry’ with the orange and pepper. 

So good. Great on leftovers, too! 

cranberry salsa on open-topped turkey sandwiches


4 responses to “Cranberry Salsa”

  1. It’s pretty close to my standard cranberry orange relish (1 bag cranberry, 1 large orange, sugar to taste), but I would never have thought of jalapeño. I’m going to have to try this.

  2. I know nothing about salsa-making, but reading Cedar’s recipes in the airport on a Saturday afternoon is a perfectly fine way to pass the wait until boarding!

    1. So shall I put more story in? After the recipe of course!

  3. I worked on a cranberrry bog during harvest in my college years. I was one of those guys in hip waders raking berries into a vacuum. Making cranberries more appetizing was religion, growing up south of Boston. My foreign-born wife still doesn’t get it. She still asks me if I have a UTI every time she sees a cranberry product in the house. Apparently that is the only reason to have cranberries in much of the world. Their loss.