Grandma’s Cranberry Chutney

My mother’s mother, Marion, was one of my heroes. There is so much I could write about her; she was beautiful, loving, a fabulous seamstress and cook, and she called me darling. When I spent the night at her house, I awoke to the sound of her in the kitchen fixing breakfast and emptying the dishwasher; sounds that indicated all was right in the world and somebody else was in charge. Grandma would set the table with pink and white breakfast china complete with matching shallow bowls that held half of a grapefruit from one of my grandfather’s citrus trees. It was already sectioned for you; one of the many ways she loved on us.

She also made this cranberry chutney for us every Thanksgiving. Then, my mother started making it. And, now, I make it. It is the one food I look forward to making every Thanksgiving mostly because I love eating it by the spoonful while it is still warm in the pot! This makes me wonder if it would be good on top of ice cream …


When Grandma made this cranberry chutney, a bag of fresh cranberries weighed 16 ounces, not the 12 ounces you get today. I phoned a representative at Ocean Spray to ask when they made the change. I was told they went to 12 ounces in 1980 when there was a shortage of cranberries. This is good info to know if you are using old recipes.


I prefer to use fresh cranberries for this recipe instead of one of the many bags sitting in my freezer.


Since one of my children is allergic to nuts, after I cook the cranberries, I pour in all the add-ins except the nuts. After stirring the ingredients together, I remove a cup of the cranberry chutney, set it aside in a separate container with his name on it, and then add the nuts.


1 pound fresh cranberries (4½-5 cups), discard any that are shriveled
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 cup orange juice
1 cup golden seedless raisins
1 cup chopped celery (4½ ounces or 3 stalks)
1 cup chopped apple, peeled (4 ounces or 1 medium)
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange peel
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup chopped pecans


Mise en Place:



Prep all the ingredients. I like to use a Microplane to grate the orange peel. Be sure to wash the orange well first. I save the rest of the orange to put in the cavity of the turkey when I cook it on Thanksgiving day.

DSC_0008 Thanksgiving 2014 Gumbo

Combine cranberries, sugar, water and orange juice. Listen for the sound of cranberries popping as they heat up and expand in the water. Stir occasionally to help dissolve the sugar. Once cranberries come to a boil, set a timer for 15 minutes and simmer the mixture over low heat. Stir occasionally.

DSC_0589 DSC_0593 DSC_0601

Remove pot from heat. Stir in remaining ingredients. If you have a guest who is nut allergic, hold back on adding nuts until after you remove a nut-free portion. Set aside a the nut-free bowl and then add the nuts to the pot. Stir.

DSC_0567 DSC_0570

I can’t tell you how much I love the sweet and tart tastes in this recipe. Instead, I will show you all the unnecessary tasting spoons I used while the chutney was cooling down!


Chill until ready to serve. This will last for one week in the refrigerator.

I wrote a story about how cranberries are grown and harvested. You can find it here.


Other Thanksgiving Day Side Dishes We Love:
Melissa’s Sweet Potato Casserole
Roasted Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts, and Cranberries
Amazingly Delicious Sautéed Carrots
Auntie Martha’s Spicy Spinach (aka Spinach Madeleine)


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16 thoughts on “Grandma’s Cranberry Chutney

  1. Judy, I recently tried an appetizer rather like your cranberry brie bites: wonton wrappers pressed into miniature muffin tin, sprayed; a bit of brie; then blackberry jam; all of it baked in 350 degree oven until wrappers are brown. I’m glad to see this other variation!

  2. Judy, this is a little spooky. I have been searching in vain for my mom’s cranberry relish recipe. Was going to take to a family dinner. No luck. Then, I open this post: it is the same recipe!! Blessings on you, your grandmother, and my mom. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  3. Oh my gosh, those little tarts look delicious! I bake with cranberries often, but on a very Baking101 level. If I made something as nice as your tarts, I would expect applause.
    And thank you so much for confirming my suspicion that bags of cranberries used to be one pound.

    1. I grew up less than an hour from the Ocean Spray cranberry bogs in MA. I have always loved finding ways to cook with cranberries, that’s why I loved that post you wrote about using up your frozen cranberries. The tarts are super easy and you could use the cranberry sauce recipe on the package or my grandmother’s recipe. If you like cranberries, I totally suggest trying my grandmother’s chutney recipe. Just knowing it is in the fridge, makes you grab a clean spoon out of the drawer to get another bite … the tart equals the sweet. Happy Thanksgiving!

    2. Quinn, about a week ago, I left a message with the marketing person at Ocean Spray to ask when they switched from a 16 oz bag of cranberries to a 12 oz bag. I was curious. I was just listening to my phone messages from last week and saw there was a message from Ocean Spray saying they switched to 12 ounce bags in 1980 when there was a shortage of cranberries. I thought you would be interested in this update!

  4. Hi Judy, growing up in Italy I was not familiar with cranberries, however, I quickly learned and appreciate the many wonderful uses. This Thanksgiving (first time) our family will be celebrating it out to dinner, so I definitely plan on making my traditional Thanksgiving dinner at a later date and try your grandma’s Cranberry’s Chutney Sauce. Also, I’m looking forward trying out the Cranberry Brie Bites. I think they’ll be a hit at our card game gathering. I’ll keep you posted.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!!

    1. Mafalda, as someone who knew and loved my mother, I am so happy to hear from you at this time. Thank you for your message. Let me know how it turns out. If you get a chance, read the post on how cranberries are grown. My mother and I had so many cranberry recipes! xoJudy

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