pomegranates 2Thanksgiving is a special time of gratitude – for our friends, our family, and even our farmers. As I plan menus to celebrate the harvest season, I enjoy looking at how to incorporate seasonal and local ingredients. I set out to create a California-based apple-pomegranate-strawberry relish. Fuji apple provides a sweet base with a bit of naturally-occurring pectin to thicken it, strawberries provide color and a bit of sweet and sour, while fresh pomegranate seeds, or arils, provide the tartness and astringency we expect from the cranberry.

Garnished with fresh herbs like basil, parsley, or even mint, this simple relish nicely (and locally) rounds out your Thanksgiving Day feast with less than half of the added sugar found in traditional cranberry sauce. Leftovers are fantastic rolled up with almond butter in a sprouted tortilla, or stuffed into pita bread with feta cheese, spinach, and fresh mint.

Apple Pomegranate Strawberry Relish

Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Yield: 2 1/2 cups


½ cup filtered water
½ cup raw or organic sugar
1 small, organic Fuji apple
½ inch fresh ginger
pinch of sea salt
1 pint organic strawberries
1 large pomegranate
½ cup basil and/or parsley, optional


  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the water and sugar to a boil. Meanwhile, grate the ginger and apple (keep the skin, but skip the core) using a box or cheese grater, and then add to the pan. Add just a pinch or a grind or two of sea salt.
  2. Simmer the apple, ginger, and sugar mixture uncovered for 5-10 minutes or until it begins to thicken, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, hull the strawberries and chop into about ½ inch pieces.
  3. Add strawberries to the apple-sugar-ginger mixture, stir well, and simmer about 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cut the pomegranate in half and plunge into a large bowl of water. Working underwater, pluck out the seeds and peel them away from the white pith. Allow the seeds, or arils, to sink, pour off the water and pith, and then strain.

Remove the apple-strawberry mixture from the heat and allow to cool 5-10 minutes, then fold in the pomegranate seeds. Serve as is or garnish with fresh chopped herbs like basil, parsley and/or mint. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and enjoy for up to a week.