One of my first real responsibilities in our family kitchen was making the cranberry sauce. My Belgian mother would say with a smirk to my sisters and me, “Get cooking girls, it’s not my holiday.” I have such fond memories of the pride I took in making the sauce, choosing which pretty bowl to serve it in and then seeing it nestled among the beautiful table as we sat down to eat.
I’m forever grateful for that spirit of inclusiveness in the kitchen and the lifelong passion for cooking it sparked. It’s been a model for me with my own girls. This fresh, bright cranberry sauce is a great recipe to begin “real” cooking at the stove. Switching out the usual water for citrus juice, here we used tangerines from our garden, gives wonderful flavor and cuts down on the added processed sugar.
If you are going recruit the kids for this project, here are a few tips from the trenches.
Throw the fresh cranberries in the colander and have them pick out and pitch the ones that are bad.
For slicing the tangerines, give them a cut mark to start with and they will build those knife skills quickly.
When juicing the tangerines teach them about a cook’s best tool – their hands!
Make sure to taste as you go, adding more sugar if needed (this really depends on the sweetness of your citrus and the ripeness of the cranberries).
Seeing the pride the girls take in contributing to our holiday table makes me thankful. First, that I’ve had the chance to pass down to another generation the gift of cooking together and second, that my mom gave us this as our holiday.
Fresh Cranberry Tangerine Sauce
1 12 oz. bag fresh cranberries
6 tangerines, juiced about 2/3 cup
1/2 cup raw turbinado sugar
1 stick of cinnamon
Place the cranberries in a colander and wash over with cool water. Toss any mushy ones in the compost or trash.
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Place on medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning and add more sugar if necessary.
Remove cinnamon stick and place sauce in a pretty bowl. Can be served warm or at room temperature.