Grandma Freel’s Cranberry Salad

Grandma Freel’s Cranberry Salad: A Timeless Family Treasure

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Step into the heartwarming world of family traditions with Grandma Freel’s Cranberry Salad. This beloved recipe has been passed down through generations, bringing joy and flavor to countless family gatherings. The combination of fresh cranberries, crisp apples, and the sweetness of cherry-flavored gelatin creates a symphony of tastes that’s both nostalgic and refreshing. Join us on a journey into Grandma Freel’s kitchen as we share the secrets of this cherished cranberry salad. This blog post will guide you through the ingredients, instructions, cook notes, variations, and even keto and low-carb versions, ensuring that Grandma Freel’s legacy lives on in your own kitchen.

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  • 1 1/2 cups Apple
  • 1 1/2 cups Celery
  • 1 lb Cranberries, fresh

Baking & Spices

  • 2 cups White sugar

Nuts & Seeds

  • 1 cup Pecans


  • 2 (3 ounce) packages Cherry-flavored gelatin


  • 1 1/2 cups Water


Step 1: Prepare the Cranberries

  1. Rinse the fresh cranberries thoroughly and remove any stems.
  2. Using a food processor, chop the cranberries until they are finely diced. Set aside.

Step 2: Chop Apple and Celery

  1. Dice the apples and celery into small, bite-sized pieces.
  2. Combine the diced apples and celery with the chopped cranberries in a large mixing bowl.

Step 3: Add Pecans

  1. Chop the pecans into small pieces.
  2. Add the chopped pecans to the bowl with the cranberries, apples, and celery.

Step 4: Prepare the Gelatin Mixture

  1. In a saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cherry-flavored gelatin and white sugar.
  3. Pour the boiling water over the gelatin mixture, stirring until the sugar and gelatin are completely dissolved.

Step 5: Combine and Chill

  1. Pour the gelatin mixture over the fruit and nut mixture in the large bowl.
  2. Stir until all ingredients are well combined.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a mold or serving dish.
  4. Refrigerate the cranberry salad for at least 4 hours or until it is fully set.

Cook Notes

  • For added sweetness, you can use a mixture of white and brown sugar in the gelatin mixture.
  • Experiment with different types of nuts, such as walnuts or almonds, for a unique flavor and texture.


Orange Zest Delight

  • Add a teaspoon of orange zest to the gelatin mixture for a citrusy twist.

Pineapple Paradise

  • Include diced pineapple in the fruit mixture for a tropical flavor.

Marshmallow Magic

  • Gently fold in mini marshmallows after the gelatin has set for a sweet surprise.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions


  • Substitute the white sugar with a keto-friendly sweetener such as erythritol or monk fruit.
  • Use sugar-free cherry-flavored gelatin to reduce carbohydrate content.


  • Replace the gelatin with a sugar-free version.
  • Choose a low-carb fruit option like berries, and adjust the quantity accordingly.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Can I use frozen cranberries instead of fresh?

A1: Yes, frozen cranberries can be used. Ensure they are thawed and well-drained before chopping.

Q2: Can I make this salad a day ahead?

A2: Absolutely! In fact, the flavors tend to meld and intensify if allowed to sit overnight in the refrigerator.

Q3: Can I use other flavored gelatin?

A3: While cherry-flavored gelatin is traditional, you can experiment with other flavors to suit your taste preferences.

Q4: Can I skip the nuts for allergies?

A4: Certainly, the salad will still be delicious without nuts. You can also substitute with seeds like sunflower or pumpkin seeds.

Q5: How long does the cranberry salad last in the refrigerator?

A5: When stored properly in an airtight container, Grandma Freel’s Cranberry Salad can last up to a week.

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Grandma Freel’s Cranberry Salad is more than a recipe; it’s a connection to cherished memories and shared moments. As you recreate this timeless dish in your own kitchen, you become a part of a legacy that spans generations. The vibrant flavors of fresh cranberries, apples, and the perfect balance of sweetness and tartness create a culinary masterpiece that will leave an indelible mark on your family’s traditions. Embrace the warmth of family ties and the joy of homemade goodness with Grandma Freel’s Cranberry Salad – a true treasure that transcends time.

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