Kid-friendly Fancy Cranberry Juice Sparklers Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Fancy Cranberry Juice Sparklers

Recipe: Fancy Cranberry Juice Sparklers

Fancy Cranberry Juice Sparklers

by Erin Fletter
Photo by Liliya Kandrashevich/
prep time
10 minutes
cook time
6-12 servings

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • juice :

    to extract or squeeze out the juice of a fruit or vegetable, like a lemon, orange, or carrot, often cutting open or peeling the fruit or veggie first to access its flesh.

  • rim :

    to dip the outer edge or rim of a glass into sugar or salt after first applying moisture, such as water or juice.

  • zest :

    to scrape off the outer colored part of a citrus fruit's rind (skin or peel) using a metal tool with small sharp blades, such as a zester, microplane, or the small holes of a grater (avoid the "pith," the white, spongy lining of the rind that can be bitter).

Equipment Checklist

  • Small plate
  • Measuring spoons
  • Zester for zesting citrus (or metal box grater with small zesting holes)
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife (a butter knife works great)
  • Citrus squeezer (optional)
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Wooden spoon
  • Small drinking glasses


Fancy Cranberry Juice Sparklers

  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 orange
  • ice
  • 3 C cranberry juice (100% juice)
  • 1 C sparkling water


Fancy Cranberry Juice Sparklers

measure + zest + mix + rim

Measure 1 tablespoon of sugar and pour onto a small plate. Zest 1 orange and mix the zest in with the sugar. Cut the orange in half and rim the outside of small drinking glasses with the cut side of the orange. Dip the tops of glasses into the orange and sugar mixture so that they’re evenly coated with a rim of orange sugar.

fill + juice + stir

Fill glasses with ice. Squeeze orange juice over each glass of ice. Divide 3 cups of cranberry juice among glasses (fill each about 3/4 of the way). Then, with 1 cup of sparkling water, top off each glass and stir. Cheers!

Surprise Ingredient: Cranberry!

back to recipe
Photo by Olivier Le Queinec/ (Cranberry Bog)

Hi! I'm Cranberry!

“I love being me because I'm very popular during Fall holiday feasts. Yes, I can be sour, but sugar sweetens me right up, and cranberry sauce is a tart and tasty culinary partner when added to turkey (and leftover turkey sandwiches!). I also like hanging out with my orange friends to make delicious scones or muffins."


  • The cranberry is indigenous to North America. The Narragansett people, an Algonquian tribe who called the berries "sasemineash," may have introduced them to Massachusetts Bay colonists in the early 1600s. 
  • The Native Americans created what you could call the first energy bar, "Pemmican," made from a mixture of pounded cranberry, ground deer meat, and fat tallow. They also used cranberries to make a dye.
  • Several 17th-century books from New England reference cranberry recipes. A couple of the books describe cranberry sauce, and a cook's guide mentions cranberry juice. 
  • Many years ago, American ships carried cranberries to prevent scurvy, a disease caused by vitamin C deficiency, for the same reason English sailors added limes to their diets.
  • Eighty percent of cranberries grown worldwide are harvested today in the United States and Canada. 
  • Cranberries are primarily grown in five states: Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington. 
  • About 80 million pounds, or 20 percent of the cranberries harvested per year, are gobbled up during Thanksgiving week! 
  • There are approximately 4,000 cranberries in one gallon of cranberry juice! 
  • The word "cranberry" is from the mid-17th century (by a North American Puritan), from the German "kranbeere" (crane-berry).


  • The cranberry plant is an evergreen shrub or trailing vine from the Ericaceae (heath or heather) family that includes the blueberry, huckleberry, rhododendron, azaleas, and heathers. The berries are part of the genus Vaccinium. 
  • Contrary to common belief, cranberries do not grow in water. Instead, they are grown on constructed beds surrounded by dykes, evenly layered with sand, and close to a water source. The cranberry farmers flood these "bogs" in Fall so that the cranberries can float to the surface when they are ready to harvest and in Winter to protect the plants from the cold temperature. 
  • Cranberries are small, light, airy, round, and red. Each cranberry has four air pockets in the middle that allow it to float.
  • Cranberries are sometimes called "bounceberries" because the tiny air pockets make them bounce and float in the bogs when they are ripe! 

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • When selecting fresh cranberries from the grocery store, where they usually come in a bag, look for firm, plump berries that are red to dark red. Avoid ones that look shriveled, feel soft, or have blemishes. 
  • You can buy fresh cranberries from September through January, and you can freeze fresh cranberries until ready to use. Frozen, canned, and dried cranberries are available year-round at the grocery store.
  • Store cranberries in their sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator for one to two months, check the berries' condition now and then, and remove any that appear to be decaying. They can last about one year in an airtight container if you freeze them.
  • Cranberries are both sour and bitter. They taste astringent! This is due to tannins, the same compound found in red wines. So fresh cranberries are usually sweetened and juiced, cooked, or dried before eating.
  • Make an easy cranberry sauce by heating a bag of fresh or frozen cranberries with 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons of orange juice, 1 tablespoon of water, and some orange zest. Simmer the sauce over low heat until the cranberries pop for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Fresh cranberry salsa is delicious. Mince cranberries in a food processor and combine with lime juice, fresh ginger, minced jalapeno, cilantro, sugar, and chopped green onions. Serve with chips!
  • You can add cranberries to smoothies and bake them into puddings, cakes, and pies. You can also make jam, relish, and sherbet with them. 
  • Cranberries are especially delicious paired with pork, almond, orange, peach, cinnamon, ginger, chocolate, apple, mango, pint, and pear.  


  • Cranberries are a moderate source of vitamin C. Vitamin C protects our blood vessels and heart and helps us maintain healthy immunity during cold and flu season. In addition, the body uses vitamin C to absorb iron, another essential nutrient.
  • They also have a moderate amount of manganese. It is a mineral and essential trace element involved with the metabolism of carbohydrates and glucose. Manganese also helps bone formation and works with vitamin K in blood clotting.   
  • Cranberries contain A-type proanthocyanidins (plant compounds) that help keep bacteria from binding to cell walls. These compounds are why cranberry juice is associated with preventing urinary tract infections.


History of Cranberry Juice!

Photo by Pixel-Shot/
  • Cranberries are native to North America, and cranberries may have first been crushed and mashed to extract their juice by Native Americans, who introduced cranberries to the Pilgrims. By the late 1600s, these English settlers were making cranberry juice.
  • In commercial production of cranberry juice, the cranberries are crushed after harvesting; then, the resulting mash is macerated (softened by allowing it to soak in a liquid), heated, and pressed. The last step is pasteurization. 
  • You can also make cranberry juice at home, but it should be consumed the same day or stored in the refrigerator for no more than three days. 
  • The natural acidity and tartness of cranberry juice must be offset by adding sugar or a sweet juice made from apples, grapes, or pears. Commercially, this less than 100 percent cranberry juice made with cranberry juice concentrate and added water is called a cranberry juice "blend" or "cocktail."

Let's Learn About Colonial America!

Photo by Alexander Sviridov/ (Plymouth Colony Village Re-creation)
  • European settlers came to America from England, France, Spain, and the Dutch Republic in the late 1500s and created colonies for their respective countries. The Jamestown settlement in the Virginia colony was established in 1607 and was the first English community in the Americas. The Dutch founded the New Netherland colony in the area that is now the states of Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York. 
  • There are two reasons these countries colonized America. One was the access to natural resources in the new land and the ability to make money for investors back in their home countries. The second was for freedom to practice their religion without persecution. The Puritans were the first such pilgrims to leave England, and they settled at the Plymouth Plantation. The Province of Maryland was founded to protect English Roman Catholics. 
  • Unfortunately, foreign colonization brought hardship to the indigenous people already living there. One reason is that these people lived in an interconnected relationship with the land. In contrast, many colonists and their governments set out to conquer the land (and the Native Americans) to increase their property and wealth.
  • The thirteen British colonies eventually joined in revolting and fighting against the British in 1775 and declaring independence from the British government in July 1776. 

What Was It Like to Be a Kid in Colonial America?

  • The lives of colonists and their children were difficult. They had to live off the land and often suffered and died from diseases. Kids had to follow strict rules, and their parents expected them to do a lot of work at home.
  • There was a common belief that "children are to be seen and not heard." Therefore, kids were to eat quickly, without talking, and then leave the table as soon as they finished. Sometimes kids did not even sit at the table but stood behind their parents, waiting to have their food handed back to them!
  • Kids had household chores such as shelling corn, spinning cotton and wool, cutting sugar, gathering wood, making soap and candles, helping in the garden, and feeding the animals. 
  • Even babies had a job to do! Crawling was considered an animal behavior, so little ones wore stiff stays under their clothes to help them stay upright, keep good posture, and learn to stand and walk as soon as possible.
  • At the age of eight, boys started grammar school for writing and arithmetic, but for girls, education came second to their training in domestic duties. By age 14, young people were already considered adults. 
  • Children played with toys made of wood; however, they spent so much of their time doing chores they had to squeeze in playtime.

Lettuce Joke Around

Why did the cranberries turn red? 

Because they saw the turkey dressing!

Lettuce Joke Around

What’s the difference between a pirate and a cranberry farmer? 

A pirate buries his treasure, but a cranberry farmer treasures his berries.

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