Thursday, January 5, 2012
Aunt Pam’s Cranberry Pomegranate Relish
If I know my Aunt Pam like I think I do, this recipe was developed around the pomegranates. My grandfather had a pomegranate tree in his backyard and they flourished in early November. Aunt Pam was one of the most frugal, resourceful, and creative individuals I have ever known. I have a feeling she wanted to make good use of the pomegranates.
One thing I REALLY love about this recipe is that it sort of tricks your mouth. I am not particularly fond of the hard part of the seed inside the pomegranate aril, nor the seeds inside of the raspberries, but they are masked by the nuts when chopped up really small. Your mouth gets confused and 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 anaphylactic shock is not a result from eating nuts then this is the recipe worth eating nuts for. My brother-in-law always comes to Thanksgiving prepared to indulge in this dish. He will rinse his mouth out with baking soda to get the nut allergy itches out of his throat after eating it. I actually started making him a special one with Almonds instead of the walnuts or pecans. He's not as allergic to Almonds for some reason.
There are two 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. She would always call me the day 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 full in the fridge on Thanksgiving eve.
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. Or if you do it underwater they won’t stain your hands as much. It’s sort of our family tradition that my husband Richard peels all the pomegranate seeds. He sits at the table and does it while watching T.V., it's the one time of year he scores points with me while watching football. 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.
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.
Pam’s Cranberry Pomegranate Relish
• 6 oz. package raspberry, orange or cran-raspberry Jello