I grew up in the Philippines where eggnog was never heard of. Christmas was warm and we drank “punch.” It wasn’t the healthy kind of punch mind you. We had a lot of oranges and lime called “kalamansi” in our backyard but there was a brand called “Tang” which we thought was kind of special because it came from the US of A. Fast forward to the early 90’s and as a new immigrant in Canada, I was fascinated with those huge punch bowls at parties and at that time, it was a different mixture all together - frozen juice, water and some pop or soda as they call it in other places. I made and drank a few of those not knowing then how much artificial sugar it had and that their ingredients except for the water were highly processed.
So I have evolved and the healthier version of me still wants to drink punch but this time, it has to be a better quality than my childhood Tang or the 90’s sugary version. And two fruits in season are my inspiration: satsuma and pomegranate.
Satsumas…aren’t they pretty with their golden colour? Sweet and just the perfect tartness, refreshing, fragrant and aromatic - they are the perfect Christmas kind of fruit and an awesome ingredient for a drink. And the ruby red pomegranate is just the “made in heaven” pair. Satsumas are a thin, loose skinned and seedless mandarin oranges. They were originally cultivated in Japan and were brought to the United States in 1876. It can sometimes be mistaken with clementine due to the relatively similar size and appearance. However, one of the distinguishing feature of this orange is its thin, leathery skin with prominent oil glands, making it easier to peel.
Satsuma and Pomegranate Punch - A Festive Drink
8-10 satsumas, peeled
seeds of 1 pomegranate, about 1 1/2 cups
4 c. filtered water or more (see suggestions)
several thin slices of lemon for garnish
1. Juice the satsumas and the pomegranate seeds. Mine yielded 4 cups of juice. If you don’t have a juicer, you can use a high speed blender and blend the fruits. Use a nut bag or a cheese cloth to remove the pulp.
2. Combine the water and stir in the lemon slices. It’s good to leave the drink for an hour before serving as the lemons will give it a nice infused flavour. Enjoy!
You may use up to 8 cups of water if you have more guests to serve. You can then add 1/4 cup of maple syrup or honey. Of course you can always make your own variation. Clementines can be used if you can’t find satsumas in your area. Apples and fresh cranberries are good options as well.
The pictures below show mandarin oranges from my dad’s orchard in the Philippines taken on my last visit there in August of 2011. They probably have one more month to go before they are ripe and ready. These trees were planted when we were very young and they are still around bearing fruits today! This variety is the Filipino relative of Satsuma I must say.
I had good memories eating many of these growing up in a small rural community located in the Northern-most part of the country. When ripe, the skin of this type of mandarin does not turn orange at all but becomes lighter green with some yellow patches or streaks (maybe due to the climate) but they are sweet and organic. I definitely miss home just remembering this part of my childhood.