Early last October, I traveled to Farmington, near Souris, PEI, to watch the wet harvesting of cranberries at Mikita Farms. With other commitments, I did not have a chance to get this posting published to my food blog until now.
One of the recipes I developed with the Mikita Farm cranberries is for Cranberry-Banana Eggnog Muffins. With eggnog now being available locally year-round (at least on PEI), there is no need to save these tasty muffins just for the Christmas holiday season. If you can’t find eggnog in your locale, homemade eggnog can also be used in the recipe that follows this post.
But, first, let’s take a look at where the cranberries came from.
Here, before it was flooded with water, is a photo of the cranberry bog where the berries grow.
We continued on to Souris for lunch and, when we came back a few hours later, the bog had been flooded and this is what it looked like.
We didn’t see the machine (in the photo below) at work churning up water and dislodging the cranberries from their vine so they could float to the top of the water but it certainly is an interesting looking machine.
The cranberries grow with little pockets of air in them that allows them to float when a bog is flooded.
The photo below shows cranberries dislodged from their vines floating on top of the flooded bog.
Workers prepare the booms around the perimeter of the bog. These will be used to gather up the floating cranberries.
In the photo below, you can see the boom is in place around the perimeter of the bog.
Drivers on four-wheelers slowly pull the booms along the bog, moving the cranberries with them.
A worker guides the booms along the route.
Coralled, crimson cranberries!
The pump truck in the photo below sucks up the corralled berries from the bog.
Workers make adjustments to the booms so that as many cranberries as possible are ready for transfer to the waiting truck.
Just as we were leaving the farm, a load of freshly-harvested cranberries arrived at the farm gate stand which was particularly busy on the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend when we visited.
From here, the cranberries are bagged and ready for sale.
In addition to selling the raw product, Mikita Farms also produces cold-pressed cranberry juice from cranberries grown on their farm.
I love cranberries and always have a big bag of them frozen for use over the winter. I also make and freeze a lot of cranberry sauce.
Cranberries and bananas are a great flavour combination. Eggnog also goes particularly well with cranberries so I combined all three flavours in muffins and covered them with a tasty streusel topping.
These bistro-style muffins pack a rich flavour punch and are a treat for sure! They also freeze very well.
Cranberry-Banana Eggnog Muffins
1 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen), coarsely chopped
1½ tbsp sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup rolled oats
4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
⅛ tsp allspice
1 tbsp grated orange rind
⅔ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
¾ cup eggnog
½ cup + 1 tbsp cooking oil
¼ cup orange juice
1½ tsp vanilla
2 tbsp maple syrup
⅓ cup mashed banana
¼ cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp chopped pecans
½ tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp butter
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Coarsely chop the cranberries, leaving some of the tiny ones whole.
In small bowl, sprinkle cranberries with 1½ tbsp sugar. Toss lightly to coat cranberries with the sugar. Set aside.
In medium-sized bowl, combine the dry ingredients for the streusel. Mix well.
Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse oatmeal. Stir in chopped pecans. Set aside.
Prepare muffin tins by greasing or spraying with cooking oil, ensuring the top of the muffin tins are also well-greased.
In large bowl, combine dry ingredients and orange rind and mix well.
Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Set aside.
In separate bowl or large mixing cup, add the lightly beaten egg, oil, banana, eggnog, maple syrup, orange juice, and vanilla. Whisk together well.
Pour wet ingredients into well in dry ingredients.
Combine just until dry ingredients are barely incorporated. Do not overmix. It’s okay to still see a little bit of flour in the batter.
Gently fold in the sugared cranberries.
Ladle or spoon batter into prepared muffin tins filling almost to the muffin tin rim.
Sprinkle with streusel mixture.
Transfer muffins to oven and immediately reduce heat to 400ºF. Bake 20-22 minutes or until muffins are just firm to the touch and a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Let muffins rest in muffin tins for about 5 minutes then carefully transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.
Yield: 12-14 standard-sized muffins
The photo below shows the texture of the muffins.
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