I seriously don’t know what possessed me to buy these cranberries.

Cranberry Pear Salsa I howsweeteats.com

How pathetic is this? I didn’t even know if cranberries could be eaten raw… and whole. I didn’t think it was possible to bite into them without breaking a tooth or something. What the what?

And don’t act so surprised… I come from a long line of women who fully support the Ocean Spray can, and while we’re on the topic, I’m going to admit that I sort of love it. Like want-to-crawl-inside-and-burrow-a-little-tunnel-in-that-sauce love it. Come next Thursday, if I have the choice between lovely, orange-scented, fresh-busting cranberry sauce and the gelled cylinder that just slid out of a can… I’m totally going with the gel. Sue me!

Go ahead and slap me silly. I don’t hate it.

Cranberry Pear Salsa I howsweeteats.com

Since one of the only things I really succeed at in life is spending money, a stupid giant bag of cranberries made it into my cart without any plan or thought last week.

This is typical. I was annoyed by said purchase within five minutes of arriving home and continued to glare at these little NON-JUICY (this is important people) red pearls allll weekend long.

Like… who created a fruit that isn’t juicy when you bite into it?! Or that needs sixteen cups of sugar to taste good? Whatever.



First, I baked something flakey with cranberries.

I’ll show you that later.

Then, I dumped 5 pounds of cranberries on the floor.

I’ll show you that now.

And since I don’t really have all these warm and fuzzy loving feelings for cranberries, I didn’t want them to rot in my fridge for the all of eternity. Or, you know… the next four months when I most likely decide to clean the fridge.

Into the food processor they went! I mean, if blueberries can do it… why not cranberries? Oh… because cranberries ARE NOTHING LIKE BLUEBERRIES. Don’t let the circular shape fool you. FYI.


But. Wait for it… wait for it…

…it worked! Pretty in color, super tart, sweet from the honey and full of salsa-like qualities… blue corn chips don’t stand a chance near this salsa. Other appropriate vehicles? Melty brie… crispy white fish… turkey paninis (how the heck do you spell that?) and… spoons.

Cranberry Pear Salsa I howsweeteats.com


Cranberry Pear Salsa

Yield: makes about 1.5 cups of salsa

Total Time: 15 minutes


1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
1 anjou pear, peeled and chopped
1 large apple, peeled and chopped
1/4 red onion, chopped
1/2 jalapeno, chopped
1/3 cup fresh cilantro
the juice of two limes
the juice of one orange
4 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon salt


Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Taste and season with additional salt or honey if desired.

Note: this salsa can be very TART depending on your cranberries. Don’t be afraid to add more honey, salt or even a few spoonfuls of sugar (yes, sugar!) to the mix.

Cranberry Pear Salsa I howsweeteats.com

Thanksgiving is the best day ever.

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142 Responses to “Cranberry Pear Salsa.”

  1. #
    Melanie — November 15, 2011 @ 11:01 am

    You have NO idea how pleased I am with the lack of tomatoes in this recipe. I was so afraid.


  2. #
    Gina @ Running to the Kitchen — November 15, 2011 @ 11:05 am

    I used to bring my own can of the jellied cranberry stuff to my grandma’s house for Thanksgiving when I was a kid. No one else was allowed to touch it and I would eat THE ENTIRE thing. Love that stuff!


    • Jessica — November 15th, 2011 @ 12:17 pm

      Hahahaha, love this.


  3. #
    Sonnet Gal — November 15, 2011 @ 11:20 am

    Looks and sounds wonderful with the blue corn chips…what a fun appetizer for Thanksgiving!

    On another note, I am having a horrible morning at work (hence, the reason why I am reading blogs and commenting rather than grading comparison and contrast essays), so I decided to go to your blog because I knew it would bring out a smile, chuckle, and sometimes a ROTFLMAO! And since I was having such a horrible morning (did I mention our email wasn’t working at work…ughhh), I clicked on your WOMEN hyper-link which took me to Mother Lovett’s cookie entry. Then I clicked on the MOTHER LOVETT link and read a September 2009 entry about your grandmother….so sweet and absolutely touching that it made me both smile and tear up, which made me completely forget about my internet/email issues and be thankful for the wonderful relationships God has put into my life. That is what Thanksgiving is about….well, that, and that jellied cranberry stuff in the pretty red relish dish. :-)


    • Jessica — November 15th, 2011 @ 12:17 pm

      Aw… that is so sweet. I am glad you enjoyed it. I’ve been missing her lately!


  4. #
    rachael adele // for the love of design — November 15, 2011 @ 11:20 am

    ever since i started watching rachel zoe i suddenly find it super fabulous to add a “dash” of cranberry juice to my water. im not a fan of that thanksgiving cranberry stuff everyone in my family insists on keeping in the menu…but anything with the word salsa in it is my kind of recipe!


  5. #
    Rachel — November 15, 2011 @ 11:22 am

    I have a huge bag of cranberries in my fridge just waiting to be used. I’ve been trying to think of inventive ways to eat them, but salsa never crossed my mind. I’m going to have to try this very soon!


  6. #
    Megan's Cookin' — November 15, 2011 @ 11:23 am

    I made a cranberry salsa a couple years ago and loved it. I’ll have to give this recipe a try. I like the addition of pears in it.


  7. #
    jennifer @ peanut butter and peppers — November 15, 2011 @ 11:28 am

    Funny, like you I bought a bag of cranberries not knowing what I’ll be doing with them. This salsa sounds great, I bet it would be good topped or stuffed into pork or chicken. Maybe I’ll make this recipe, because the more I think of it the more I think this would be good with pork and a side of mashed potatoes! Yum!


    • Jessica — November 15th, 2011 @ 12:16 pm

      I think that sounds delicious too!


  8. #
    Jessica @ Stylish Stealthy and Healthy — November 15, 2011 @ 11:35 am

    I’m dealing with the same issue with pomegranates. I just bought 2 and have more seeds than I know what to do with. Like I literally don’t know what to do with them… halp!

    This looks delicious though, I love adding sweetness to salsa.


    • Jessica — November 15th, 2011 @ 12:15 pm

      OMG I LOVE POMS!!! I use them in salsas, in pastas, on cereal, in yogurt, plain… I basically throw them on everything.


  9. #
    diane stanley — November 15, 2011 @ 11:51 am

    I just started following your blog a few weeks ago. I like your style of writing and the recipes look yummy. I have already pinned so many. And just because you asked…panini is the plural of panino. Just a little Italian lesson thrown in from this Polish girl from Pittsburgh!


    • Jessica — November 15th, 2011 @ 12:15 pm

      Thank you, thank you. :)


  10. #
    Maria — November 15, 2011 @ 11:55 am

    I want some!! And I want it now:)


  11. #
    Lauren from Lauren's Latest — November 15, 2011 @ 11:57 am

    This intrigues me. A lot.


  12. #
    Stephanie — November 15, 2011 @ 12:00 pm

    I too only eat cranberry sauce from the can. My family always makes sure that there’s at least one can on the table for me! However, in the November 2011 issue of the Rachael Ray Magazine, she suggests taking two cans of sauce and melting it down with a 10-ounce bag of unsweetened frozen raspberries* and putting it in a mold and refrigerating it until chilled. You get all the wonderfulness of canned cranberry sauce without the ridges, making people think you made it from scratch!

    *I’m sure if you didn’t want to add the raspberries you could still just melt the canned sauce down and remold it. No one will be the wiser!


    • Jessica — November 15th, 2011 @ 12:14 pm

      Never heard of that… good to know!


  13. #
    Maria — November 15, 2011 @ 12:16 pm

    Wow! What an original recipe! I love mixing salty and sweet and this recipe is perfect for that, plus you give your readers a cool, new recipe to try out for the holidays. Thanks so much for sharing. I thought the readers of my Mexican recipes blog ‘A Mexican Fiesta’ would really enjoy this so I shared it with them. Check it out! http://www.mexfoodrecipes.com. Best, Maria


  14. #
    Elisabeth — November 15, 2011 @ 12:17 pm

    Cranberry sauce? It’s the best part about Thanksgiving! You need to try a cranberry orange bread or muffin or something! That is my second favorite thing about cranberries!


  15. #
    Shrazzi — November 15, 2011 @ 12:47 pm

    omg! I was just looking for a good cranberry salsa recipe with red onions! I wasn’t sure if cilantro would blend well with the tart fruit, but it looks so good. I’ll have to try it.


  16. #
    Jess @ Jess Go Bananas — November 15, 2011 @ 1:06 pm

    My stubborn self once bought a bag of cranberries, just to prove to my family that I could eat them raw and like them…well lah di dah they were horrible! Give me some sugah!!! lol


  17. #
    Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes — November 15, 2011 @ 1:24 pm

    Ooo I needed something to take to a pot luck. Thanks for the delicious recipe!! :)


  18. #
    Ashley — November 15, 2011 @ 1:26 pm

    Whoa. That is SUCH a pretty color!! Very festive for this time of year. But where’s the sage? ;)


  19. #
    CouponClippingCook — November 15, 2011 @ 1:32 pm

    Sounds so good….love the flavors going on with the sweet, fruit, hot and spicy. perfect for an appetizer.


  20. #
    Shawnda — November 15, 2011 @ 1:34 pm

    It’s just not the holidays without at least one can of the ridged jellied cranberry sauce! And it can’t be store-brand, those cans don’t leave ridges on the jelly :) Love the idea of the salsa – I adore fresh cranberries.


  21. #
    Julie — November 15, 2011 @ 1:59 pm

    That looks great! I, too, bought a bag of cranberries last week, thinking you could just eat them raw for a healthy snack. Um…no. so I made some gluten-free cran-lemon muffins. O didn’t use the whole bag, so maybe I’ll do this with the rest!


  22. #
    Jen at The Three Little Piglets — November 15, 2011 @ 2:28 pm

    I’m not ashamed to say I’d take the can anyday too! Who wants weird chunky sauce?! But this is brilliant! Bet is would be good mixed in with a little cream cheese and slathered all over a bagel for breakfast too…


  23. #
    Squash Blossom Babies — November 15, 2011 @ 2:42 pm

    WOW! This is brilliant! I cannot wait to try this! Well done! :)


  24. #
    Amy @ A Little Nosh — November 15, 2011 @ 3:23 pm

    I prefer the canned stuff. In fact, I think my mom was insulted when I told her not to bother making any homemade cranberry sauce because I like the can. And I prefer Stove Top stuffing over the homemade stuff too. :-)


  25. #
    Anna @ On Anna's Plate — November 15, 2011 @ 3:30 pm

    Yum– love the way it looks served with those blue chips. So pretty!


  26. #
    connie t. — November 15, 2011 @ 5:14 pm

    I love homemade cranberry sauce. This is the video I made to make it. It taste so good.
    I almost bought cranberries today, but I need to find ginger.


  27. #
    Barbara — November 15, 2011 @ 5:21 pm

    Wow, you make the best things!!


  28. #
    Michelle @ Blogitness — November 15, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

    That looks really good and easy to make!


  29. #
    nicole {sweet peony} — November 15, 2011 @ 6:51 pm

    the contrast of the salsa to the corn chips is so pretty! that salsa looks super good :)


  30. #
    Moni'sMeals — November 15, 2011 @ 7:01 pm

    creative. must be one of your recipes!
    Love the colors and not a big fan of cranberries but you got me on this recipe for sure. :)


  31. #
    Amanda Marie — November 15, 2011 @ 7:37 pm

    I seriously did the same thing last winter. I was like, oh, these cranberries are cheap! Went home, washed them, popped one in my mouth, and almost threw up. SO GROSS. Cranberries are pretty nasty.


  32. #
    Jamie (Thrifty Veggie Mama) — November 15, 2011 @ 10:00 pm

    There is something about cranberries that I just love. They look so fresh and festive. This salsa looks great.


  33. #
    Ashley@BakerbyNature — November 15, 2011 @ 10:04 pm

    I usually stick to baking with cranberries (aka adding so much sugar you have no idea there are tart little juiceless berries in the recipe) but this recipe is very intriguing… and pretty… which might be why it’s so darn intriguing.


  34. #
    Nutmeg Nanny — November 15, 2011 @ 10:24 pm

    This looks delicious! So tart and perfect for Fall! :)


  35. #
    Kelly — November 16, 2011 @ 12:18 am

    I have to admit, I ALWAYS cook my cranberries. The texture just seems quite crisp/harsh on its own so I fully support the food processing. What is it like in this recipe? I’m very curious…


  36. #
    Zesty Cook — November 16, 2011 @ 12:25 am

    Talk about making the best of a situation! This looks delicious. And I’m with you, I love the Ocean Spray ;)


  37. #
    Syd — November 16, 2011 @ 3:07 am

    You should definitely test out the ‘melty brie’ idea. Last Christmas I had a similar cranberry salsa which was served chilled over a baked melty brie round. This, slathered on thin baguette slices, was such a killer appetizer!


  38. #
    Kara — November 16, 2011 @ 3:52 am

    Such a creative idea!!! I don’t know if I can part with be beloved cranberry sauce though. I’d only eat massive amounts of that and stuffing on thanksgiving!


  39. #
    Stacy @ Say it with Sprinkles — November 16, 2011 @ 2:14 pm

    Geniusssss idea!


  40. #
    Tamar — November 16, 2011 @ 4:03 pm

    Yum! I also bought cranberries exactly one time thinking they may not be disgusting. But, as we know, raw, unsweetened cranberries are really gross. In case you’re still wondering the plural of panini is…panini! (The singular is actually panino, but I don’t think anyone calls them that in America :))


  41. #
    Reagan — November 16, 2011 @ 5:26 pm

    What kind of apples did you use? Can’t wait to make this for Thanksgiving!


    • Jessica — November 16th, 2011 @ 5:33 pm

      I used a honeycrisp!


  42. #
    Editorial Team | Healthy Aperture — November 16, 2011 @ 10:39 pm

    holiday edible brilliance!


  43. #
    jacqueline — November 16, 2011 @ 11:22 pm

    That is so funny! I saw cranberries packaged fresh also at the store, Fresh and Easy in fact I wonder if that is where you saw them too!


  44. #
    Kimberly :) — November 18, 2011 @ 11:59 am

    I heard a guy talking on the radio the other day and he stated his preference for “the can” because he likes the noise it makes when you set it free from the circular prison. Apparently he’s weird like me. The thought of that noise made me laugh. Just another reason to prefer the ridges!


  45. #
    Christa — November 27, 2011 @ 7:44 pm

    This was a huge hit at my thanksgiving dinner! Thanks! I have a bit leftover since I doubled your recipe…can I freeze the leftovers? Or how long do you think it should last in the fridge? Thanks!


  46. #
    Stephanie — November 29, 2011 @ 1:02 pm

    Your blog is fantastic! I just posted on a paprika chips recipe that would go perfect with your salsa. Enjoy!


  47. #
    Rachel (S[d]OC) — December 2, 2011 @ 10:59 am

    Just followed the crumbs from the Blonde Duck. This looks like a great recipe. I had to see it!

    You’re not alone with the preference for the sliceable cranberry sauce. Although I’m not that into it, my mother always buys it when she makes Thanksgiving dinner because there are a few requests for it (and she makes an awesome homemade sauce). I have at least one friend who says she’s happy to eat the homemade stuff, but still will go for the canned first.

    It’s spelled panini BTW. No need for the s. Panini is already plural. Panino would be the sigular. You were mostly correct.


  48. #
    Pretty. Good. Food. — December 4, 2011 @ 4:15 pm

    Made this last night for a party – it was a hit! So tasty :)


  49. #
    Trixie — December 22, 2011 @ 12:23 pm

    Thank you for sharing this great recipe. I made it last night for my work’s group potluck and everyone enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I used my blender because I don’t have a food processor and accidentally hit the Smoothie button, so mine turned out more smooth than chunky. I will definitely make this again.



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