Thanksgiving is my favorite family holiday. It is steeped in traditions that date back to my earliest childhood memories when we gathered at my paternal grandparent’s beach house in Los Osos, California. Aunts, uncles, cousins, and extended family friends made the annual pilgrimage.
Me and my siblings would fall asleep in the back of our GMC Suburban while our parents made the four-hour drive from our home to the coast. I vividly remember waking to the smells of wet salt air mixed with eucalyptus and sea grass. We had arrived!
The days that followed were a blur of activity as the womenfolk took over the kitchen like a horde of commandos on a mission. They chopped, baked, braised, roasted and moved around that communal space in an intricate apron ballet. The house filled with the intoxicating aromas of their labor as we impatiently awaited the moment when dinner was served. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was taking mental notes.
Fast forward a few decades, and it is me at the helm of our T-Day celebration. In keeping with tradition, I still serve many favorite dishes handed down from that bygone era. I’ve also added a few of my own to the menu.
This year I set my sights on making the perfect relish. Too often this simple condiment feels like an afterthought on the Thanksgiving table. Why slave all day to serve a moist, tender bird with cranberry sauce from a can? With a little forethought, you can easily prepare a side worthy of sharing the spotlight with your turkey centerpiece.
These two ravishing relishes will be welcome additions to your feast.
The first recipe, from Chef Karen Diggs, is a fruity lacto-fermented condiment starring seasonal Fuyu persimmons, tart apples and pomegranates. This mildly tart relish is naturally low in sugar and has lots of beneficial probiotics which aid in digestion.
The second recipe marries aromatic quince with fresh cranberries and Satsuma mandarins for a sweeter, more traditional relish with a chunky texture. It has a deep, crimson hue that is as beautiful as it is tasty.
Both versions should be made several days in advance to allow the flavors to meld and fully develop. Bon Appetite!
Fermented Persimmon & Pomegranate Relish from Chef Karen Diggs, Owner & Chief Fermentation Officer at Kraut Source.
(makes 1 pint of relish)
Printable recipe: Fermented Persimmon & Pomegranate Relish
- 1 medium Fuyu persimmon, peeled & diced
- 1 small tart apple, peeled & diced
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds
- 2 teaspoons whey (liquid from drained plain yogurt)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
- filtered water (enough to keep fruit submerged by 1″)
- Mix all the ingredients (except water) in a large bowl and pack into a pint-size, wide-mouth mason jar. Add filtered water to submerge the fruit by 1″. Fit Kraut Source device on top and ferment at room temperature for (3) days.
When fermentation is complete, transfer the jar to the refrigerator.
Quince, Cranberry & Citrus Relish
Printable recipe: Quince Cranberry Citrus Relish
- (1) large quince; peeled, cored and diced
- (1) 12 oz. pkg. fresh organic cranberries
- 1/4 cup pomegranate juice
- (2) Satsuma tangerines; zested & juiced
- 1 cup sugar
- Use a potato peeler to remove the outer skin from the quince. Use a sharp knife to halve the quince and remove the core. Slice into pieces and cut into dice.
- Place the diced quince into a saucepan and add just enough water to cover the fruit. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the quince are fork tender. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.
- Combine cranberries, Satsuma zest & juice, pomegranate juice, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook for about 2 minutes. Lower the heat and stir in the drained quince. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat and cool completely. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate. Use within 3-4 weeks.