I am pretty confident that this recipe was developed around the pomegranates, my grandfather had a tree in his backyard and my aunt liked to use the pomegranates.
Ok, so one thing I REALLY love about this recipe is that it sort of tricks your mouth. I know some people don't love the hard part of the seed inside the pomegranate seed, but you won't even realize they are there if you chop the nuts up really small like the size of the pomegranate seeds then your mouth just thinks you are eating the little minced nuts.
Try NOT to do this recipe without the nuts. I know some people have nut allergies, but just bring your epi pen, it's worth it...j/k but seriously if you don't go into anaphylactic shock from eating nuts then this recipe is worth eating nuts for. My brother-in-law always comes to Thanksgiving prepared to rinse his mouth out with baking soda to get the nut allergy itches out of his throat after eating it. I actually make him a special one with Almonds instead of the walnuts or pecans. He's not as allergic to Almonds for some reason.
There are 2 versions. One is my Aunt Pam's original version, then following that is my tripled version. The tripled version isn't even enough for my family of pigs, we practically have to triple it twice. Plus everyone always wants their own little take-home-dish after; It's sort of like the party favor at the end of Thanksgiving. My dad’s late cousin Vicki started this tradition, as she would always call me before Thanksgiving to remind me to make extra relish so she could have her own little container to take home. Then everyone would get all jealous and want their own too. I buy those little glad ware containers and stack them in the fridge on Thanksgiving eve.
One year I made a mistake and tripled the recipe but didn’t realize that I only had enough raspberries to double the recipe. It was too late though; I had already dissolved the jello in all the hot water and didn’t want to waste. I figured I could use whatever kind of fruit I felt like using to replace the missing raspberries. I filled in with canned mandarin orange segments. That was the year I shared the relish with my friend Lori. Now, Lori forever prefers this recipe with the oranges. However, that was also the year that my sister-in-law Hope realized she liked it done correctly, the first way she had experienced it, without the oranges. I still get a kick out of that. I’ll eat practically anything so either way is fine with me.
Last year I gave this recipe to a friend of mine. She was a little confused about how to make it and couldn't get a hold of me in time. She thought she needed to follow the instructions on the jello package for the amount of water it says, plus the water from this recipe. NOOOOOOOO! Don't do that please. Just follow Aunt Pam's recipe, do not follow the recipe on the Jello package.
Also, be prepared to have ugly yellow stained hands for a week from peeling pomegranate seeds. I actually suggest if you’ve had a manicure recently and you don’t want to ruin it, you have a man peel out the pomegranate seeds, unless you want an excuse to go get a manicure. It's sort of our family tradition that my husband Richard does this job. He sits at the table and does it while watching TV, it's the one time of year he scores points with me while watching TV. Some say to peel the pomegranates under water, and some say to buy them already peeled, but when you have friends with pomegranate trees, it makes sense to use them--not the friends, the pomegranates.
So about 7 years ago the stores stopped selling 10 oz. containers of frozen sweetened raspberries so I had to figure something else out. The 12 oz. bags are fine, a couple extra ounces of raspberries won't make a difference in the recipe; however, the fact that the bags are not sweetened enough will make a difference. Some bags say that they’re sweetened but it’s still not enough to balance out the fresh cranberries--trust me, this is coming from someone who prepares apple juice 1 part juice, and 1 part water and it’s still too sweet! So add about ¼ cup of sugar into the jello and hot water at the beginning so it dissolves. Then, BEFORE you pour it into the fancy jello molds--or your glad ware containers--drink a glass of it, and see for yourself if it’s sweet enough--it's like cold pomegranate soup.
Pam’s Cranberry Pomegranate Relish
- 1 3 oz. package orange jello
- 1 3 oz package raspberry jello (you can replace these 2 little jello’s for 1 big 6 oz. package (I hear the 3 oz. packages are hard to come by now), a nice alternative is the new cran raspberry flavor, but stick with orange, raspberry, or cran-raspberry, don't do cherry or strawberry, or anything else!)
- Dissolve above in 2 cups of boiling water (You'll need to add about ¼ cup of sugar to this, read the explanation above)
- Add: 2 10 oz. packages of frozen raspberries and stir until thawed (You'll probably have to do the 12 oz. bags because I can't find 10 oz. cans sweetened raspberries anymore)
- Add: 1 bag fresh cranberries finely chopped (food processor makes this fast and simple)
- 1 cup chopped walnuts, or pecans or almonds
- Seeds from 1 (large) pomegranate, or 2 small pomegranates
Pam’s Cranberry Relish tripled and updated
- 3 6 oz. packages orange jello, and/or raspberry jello, or cran-raspberry
- 1/2 – ¾ cup sugar (I think it just depends on how tart your cranberries and pomegranates are and how sweet you like your relish, just try it before you set it, and if you have to stir in a little more sugar---go for it!)
- Dissolve above in 6 cups of boiling water
- Add: 60 oz. frozen raspberries and stir until thawed (5 12 oz. bags)
- Add: 3 bags fresh cranberries finely chopped (food processor makes this fast and simple)
- 3 cups chopped walnuts, pecans or almonds
- Seeds from 3 large pomegranates