One of the things that come to mind this time of year is cranberry relish. I wanted to do something a bit different and include beets and quince, and I wanted to cut way back on the sugar content.
I cooked half of the cranberries with grated quince in a couple splashes of cranberry juice cocktail. The last time I used quince it occurred to me to plant the seeds to see if they would grow. I soaked the seeds overnight in a bit of water and the next morning the water they were soaking in had turned to gel. I concluded that at least some of the pectin in quince must be in the seeds. So I tied the quince seeds in cheesecloth and cooked the pouch with the cranberries and grated quince.
While the cranberries and quince were cooking I coarsely ground the rest of the cranberries in a food processor with about five heaping teaspoons of Stevia. I wouldn’t have chosen to include vanilla in this relish but it so happens that all the stevia in the house is infused with the flavor of vanilla. The other day I had split and cut up a few vanilla beans and buried them in a jar of stevia. I got the idea from reading Marisa’s blog post on Marisa’s Italian Kitchen (http://marisasitaliankitchen.com/vanilla-sugar/).
When the cooked cranberries and quince had cooled I squeezed all the liquid I could out of the cheesecloth pouch, then poured a little Limoncello liqueur to rinse and squeeze out more of the pectin liquid.
To the cooled cranberries I added the coarsely ground fresh cranberries, finely chopped sweet onion, home grown prepared horseradish (ground horseradish with vinegar) and grated beetroot which had been parboiled and peeled.
Faye and I were both pleased with the taste. The relish is tart but balanced with just the right amount of sweetness and has some crunch from the onion and fresh cranberries. It will be even better when it is well chilled. Grated carrot would be another great addition to this relish. The only refined sugar is from the small amount of cranberry juice cocktail and the Limoncello liqueur.