This is a favorite side dish we have eaten for many Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations and any other time we have fresh cranberries. A dear aunt, who is an excellent cook, originally shared this recipe with us. One Christmas she dropped off a crystal bowl filled with this beautiful red cranberry salad for our Christmas celebration. The dish was pretty, festive, and so delicious that we have prepared it every holiday since.
This cranberry salad is also called cranberry Jell-O salad or even cranberry relish. We never call it by its real name, but everyone knows what you mean when you say we having Aunt Jane’s cranberry salad! It can be used as a side dish, fruit salad, or a dessert. It is not as heavy as some traditional holiday desserts, which is always welcome after a large meal.
This recipe has lots of fruit in it and you can vary the amounts if you like one ingredient more than another. You can also omit the pecans and the recipe will still turn out delicious.
The most important detail in this recipe is to have the Jell-O at the correct consistency before adding the fruits. If it has not thickened enough, the fruit will float to the top of the Jell-O and none will be in the bottom of the dish. It takes about an hour in the refrigerator to thicken enough. The texture is like thick egg whites or a soft jam when it is at the correct consistency to add the fruits. Set a timer to remind you to check the Jell-O after 45 minutes. If not ready, then check it again at 60 minutes. At this point, it should be ready or soon will be. Setting times can vary based on the temperature of your refrigerator.
This dish is pretty served in either a clear or a white bowl.
However, you can also put it in individual serving bowls or place it in a large silicon mold and turn it out on a platter with fruits around the base. Smaller individual molds would also be pretty served on dessert plates with garnish.