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Gourmet Fruit Leather from Leftover Cranberry Sauce

Following the holidays, there is an onslaught of "what to do with leftover turkey" posts, but one thing that leaves a lot of people scratching their heads is what to do with the cranberry relish. Cranberry relish looks great on the table; a pretty, garnet-colored accompaniment to our holiday feasts. But am I the only one that thinks a lot of people don't really like the stuff that much?

Granted, the tart and tangy side dish has such a pungent flavor that a little goes a long way, but maybe the reason so much cranberry sauce is leftover after the holidays is in the presentation. Umm, cranberry jelly log, anyone?

Canned Cranberry Sauce "Log": Is This Appealing? :)

My family ditched the canned cranberry sauce years ago, and I hope that after reading this post you are inspired to do the same thing and make your own relish. It's sooooo easy, all it takes is a food processor and 10 minutes. Once you try it, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner will never be the same!
Homemade Cranberry Relish: A Feast For the Eyes

And once you use the leftover cranberry relish for my "grown up" version of fruit leather, you will want to make a ton of the relish so you can savor this tasty treat when away from home! I can't wait for fresh cranberries to go on sale after the holidays for $1 per bag, so I can dehydrate away :)

Making Your "Gourmet" Cranberry Relish Fruit Leather

Cranberries, Orange, Sugar make the relish

First, make the Fresh Cranberry Relish from the Recipe Below. Pop it in the blender.  Eyeball the amount of relish, then add about 2/3 the same amount in unsweetened applesauce. This isn't rocket science, so don't sweat the actual amount.  You just need enough applesauce to "bind" the ingredients for the leather.  Otherwise the finished product will be too crunchy.

Cranberry Relish and Applesauce

Now, I like to add my "secret" ingredients, which are totally optional.  Guess it's not such a secret, anymore, haha.  The fruit leather is delicious as is, but adding a few extra things will definitely add some pizzazz.   Add a smidgen of jalapeño and some fresh cilantro, which compliment the tartness of the cranberries beautifully.

Next, spread the mixture out on a solid drying sheet and dehydrate for about 6 hours at 100°F until the mixture is dry and flexible.  The leather will still be slightly tacky due to the sugar and pectin.

Fruit Leather Ready for the Dehydrator

Halfway through the drying, peel the leather from the solid sheet, and flip onto mesh dryer sheet.

Flip over Halfway Through onto Mesh Tray

Cut with pizza cutter or knife, and store in ziploc bags or in Mason jars for longer term.  

Finished Fruit Leather

Fresh Cranberry Relish Recipe:

  • 1 - 12 ounce bag fresh whole cranberries
  • 1 orange, unpeeled, quartered and seeded
  • 1/2 c sugar or evaporated cane juice (add more sugar to taste- I like mine very tart)


Place ingredients in half-batches in food processor and pulse until chopped coarse. Serve chilled.

Now for the good stuff! Use one part of your cranberry relish to 2/3 part unsweeted applesauce. The "surprise" ingredient is jalapeño peppers. The spice of the jalapeño nicely balances the cranberries and sugar, but less is more in this recipe.

Cranberry Relish Fruit Leather


  • Leftover cranberry relish
  • Less than equal measure of applesauce 
  • Jalapeño pepper to taste, fresh & seeded or canned, diced finely (optional)
  • Fresh Chopped Cilantro (optional)


Place leftover relish in blender or food process. Add just enough unsweetened applesauce to thin cranberry relish and make it easily pourable. Add a small amount of jalapeño pepper (1/2 teaspoon at a time).  Pulse gently until ingredients are blended well.   Add additional applesauce as needed to blend to smooth consistency.

Pour onto solid dehydrator sheets and dry until leathery at ~100°F, about 8 hours.

Remove from sheet and cut with pizza cutter or knife into equal strips for storage.

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