Sweet and Tangy Cranberry Salad

cranberry salad on top of turkey
cranberry salad on top of turkey

Fine Pairings of sweet, tangy cranberry and turkey

This sweet and tangy cranberry salad is a consideration on the list of great food pairings. Something similar to tortilla chips and salsa, bread and olive oil, tomatoes and basil, some things are just meant to be together. To many of us, we know the fine essences cranberries have. They are bitter, tangy and sweet. How could we ever imagine this sweet tangy delight paired together with turkey, or better yet, the turkey sandwich? As history demonstrates, the cranberry was observed at the first celebration in 1621. It was more than likely used together with dried meats preserved from the natives. Our version however, did not get its sweet flair until about 50 years later when it was suggested to add sugar to this berry.

Something to be said about tradition…

The Natives loved this berry and had many uses for it. The berry was native to mostly the pacific north west and coastal regions. This berry is very difficult to harvest, yet, somehow worth the work. The natives used this berry for all things in their lives. From good health, to surviving the winter, to dying their clothing and tanning their skins, to fine dining. In short, perhaps its always been in human nature to recognized a fine food when they found it.

I guess you can say, us American’s have carried the love of cranberries on since the Natives first introduced them to our first arrivers from Europe. That says a lot. I know that I have actually pondered foregoing my cranberry salad a Thanksgiving or two, but the protests over this salad was too great to ignore. I guess it’s a custom we’ve grown used to in our family, and it’s one I”m happy to continue and carry on for the next generation to come.

The magic of left-overs

We’ve seemed to carry many traditions from the original “Thanksgiving” Jamestown edition. Even a second-gen Italian like my mother passed this American tradition on to me, and somewhere along the time line of beginning her new family was born her tradition of the famous cranberry salad. Every year, her Thanksgiving feasts seem to get better and better. Consequently, if you’re wondering what my mother’s meal was like, just take a look at my meal. She laid the ground work for us to follow. As a result of her fine traditions and over-preparations, there were always left-overs.

Oddly enough left-overs in our family became almost as important as the Thanksgiving meal. We’d all show up at the house and await the open-faced turkey sandwich. But, would it have been the same with out the “sweet and tangy cranberry salad” used as a sandwich topper? I’m not so sure. Give your hand to this delicious pairing of sweet and tangy, see what your left over day is like.

Sweet and Tangy Cranberry Salad

A sweet and tangy cranberry salad has a place at any Thanksgiving table. 
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword Salad
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 8 people


  • 1 pack cranberries or 2 cups dried
  • 4-6 sheets gelatin or agar-agar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 can pineapple crushed
  • 1 whole apple
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup whole cream optional


  • I opt to use dry cranberries and soak them in water for about 10 min. to plump them up again.  Keep the juices, add the gelatin sheets or agar-agar, and pour into a mixer or food processor
  • add the sugar, pineapple apples and pulse
  • add the walnuts and pulse a few more times, don’t go full puree.  It’s nice to have some texture
  • add cream if you desire, this lightens the color and makes it a bit creamer.  Put in a container and put if fridge over-night. 
  • the next day, it’s ready to be a nice topper for your turkey or other meat of choice
    cranberry salad on top of turkey
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