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Friday, November 20, 2020

Trader Joe's Cranberry Orange Relish


Apparently there are some cran-haters out there, but I ain't one of 'em. I love me some cranberries. Especially this time of year. Oh how I love the sweet-tartness, the tang, the taste of cranberries. But then, hmmm, it occurs to me that I've never eaten an actual cranberry. I really don't think I've ever had one in my life. I mean, I've had "craisins," which are dried cranberry raisin-esque thingies. And also, apparently, that name is trademarked by Ocean Spray, so it's actually Craisins®. Please don't sue us, Ocean Spray.

I've had cranberry sauce, cranberry jam, cranberry juice, cranberry juice mixed with literally every other kind of fruit juice, and cranberries baked into all sorts of confections. But why on earth haven't I ever eaten a plump, juicy cranberry straight off the vine...? Bush...? Tree...? I don't even know where cranberries grow.


Oh well. It may be some time before I eat an actual whole cranberry in its natural state, but thanks to long-time reader and commenter NJ-to-TX, I was recently reminded of this product, which I'd heard about before, but never really paid much attention to—and lemme tell ya' it's crantastic. It's been around Trader Joe's for a long, long time. And, as is usually the case with such a product, that's a testament to its scrumptiousness.

This stuff is sweet. It's very sweet. It's actually a bit sweeter than traditional cranberry sauce by my estimation, and you'd expect it to be so with 25g of sugar per serving. There's plenty of tartness, too, to make it a little less like a candy and more like a condiment.

There are exactly three ingredients: cranberries, sugar, and oranges. I'm a little surprised sugar isn't the number one ingredient, but I guess cranberries are a little sweet on their own. There's definitely more cranberry flavor, while the citrus kick of the orange is more subtle and understated. It's a beautiful balance of the constituent flavors.


Channeling my ten-year-old self that zeroed in on cranberry sauce over any other dish on the Thanksgiving Day table, I took bite after bite straight out of tub upon first opening it. Sonia was less enthused to consume it plain, and like a real adult, prefers it on turkey, tofurkey, stuffing, and/or mashed potatoes. It does go VERY well with all of those things, but I'd get creative and try it in pies, as a dip for chicken nuggets, or whatever ridiculous combo pops into my foodie-hack brain at the moment.

If you haven't checked it out, I recommend trying this in place of traditional cranberry sauce at your Turkey Day meal. $3.49 for the 6 serving tub. Four and a half stars from me. Three and a half from Sonia.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.

8 comments:

  1. I love this stuff! The only cranberry sauce I want. I don't think you'd want to eat plain cranberries. They need sugar. Pretty sure you can buy unsweetened cranberry juice but I wouldn't. TJ's has fantastic dried cranberries. And some that are not so good. You want the ones that say "fortified with cranberry seed oil." A tad more expensive but so much better. I will never go back to Craisins.

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    1. Plain cranberries are nasty. That is why we don’t have actual “cranberry juice.” It would be quite thick, and extremely vile.

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    2. Yes, you can buy pure unsweetened cranberry juice. I guess some people must like it for whatever reason.

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  2. Oh, and they grow in bogs. I remember seeing commercials (Ocean Spray I presume) where a guy is wading through the cranberry bog.

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  3. Yeah, you don't want to eat a plain cranberry. There's a reason John Oliver referred to them as "garbage bog berries." They need sugar to be palatable.

    That said, I LOVE this relish. It is my go-to.

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  4. I love cranberries! I prefer the plain cranberry sauce Trader Joe's has as om not a huge fan of orange...but this is still good.
    Plain cranberries are good...but they are very tart so most people like to add sugar.

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  5. Thanks for the shout out! Note that these are only available in November and December. We freeze 'em for use during the year. Add a couple of teaspoons to a 32-oz container of plain yogurt. Better than store-bought sweetened yogurt. And you need very little.

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  6. Cranberry orange relish is classic. My mother often made it. I will look for this.

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