Cranberry Sauce

I often say I learned to cook from my mom. And while I can remember a few times helping out, I wasn't really much of a sous-chef. Mostly, I learned from watching her in the kitchen, the way she'd study a recipe, double-check measurements, juggle multiple things at a time.

More than that, I got to see her time and again try something new. How to explore. How to show up and say:

"I've never made this before... but I bet I can do it."

That little voice that says, I think I can, is something I've always kept (along with her kick-ass homemade recipe book). That voice is important for cooking, or for any craft. That voice says I think I can try again, after I burned the first batch. That voice says I think I can do better, even after a great meal - a subtle push that keeps us striving to improve.

This recipe is an example of my mom trying something new. I don't remember when the fresh cranberry sauce became part of our Thanksgivings growing up, but it's been with us ever since; it reminds me of how grateful I am to have a mom who likes to cook.

We made a few changes from the original, but tried to leave the taste and process similar. Ginger can vary in spiciness, so feel free to start with just one teaspoon, or add some extra if you like a kick. Either way, the flavors mellow and improve if left to marinate overnight.

Cranberry Relish - A Thanksgiving Tradition

Inspired by Mom Gantz


  • 12 oz fresh cranberries (we've also used thawed frozen cranberries)
  • 7 medjool dates, pits removed and chopped. Add more for extra sweetness.
  • 2 tsp freshly grated ginger*
  • Zest and juice from 1 navel orange


  • Combine ingredients in a food processor.
  • Pulse 10-20 times, scraping down sides every so often.
  • Let sit at least 30 minutes, or overnight.**

*The original recipe uses a splash of bourbon or Grand Marnier instead of the ginger. Feel free to experiment if you're feeling frisky.

**This is an easy recipe to crank out the day before Thanksgiving. The flavors improve as they marinate, and it's one fewer dish to juggle on the big day.

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