Tag Archives: Mikita Farms

Zesty Cranberry-Orange Sauce

Zesty Cranberry-Orange Sauce
Zesty Cranberry-Orange Sauce

While cranberry sauce is traditionally associated with Thanksgiving and Christmas, I eat it year-round. In fact, I batch cook it and freeze it for use throughout the year.

Each fall, I eagerly await the cranberry harvest on PEI. The photo below was taken on a day that Mikita Farms in Farmington, PEI was wet harvesting their cranberry crop. Produce just does not get any fresher than this!

Freshly-harvested Cranberries from Mikita Farms in Farmington, PEI

In the fall, I buy a huge bag of cranberries for the freezer as I use them in several recipes, including cranberry-orange sauce.

These gems turn into a rich jeweled-toned cranberry sauce.

Zesty Cranberry-Orange Sauce
Zesty Cranberry-Orange Sauce

Any time I am cooking a chicken dinner, chicken pieces, or have a craving for cranberry sauce, I head to the freezer for a small container of the sauce as it just seems to make the meal.

Zesty Cranberry-Orange Sauce
Zesty Cranberry-Orange Sauce

I hope you enjoy my recipe for cranberry-orange sauce.  This is not a sickeningly sweet sauce although you can add a bit more sugar if you have a really sweet tooth!  Adding some apple and orange juice to the sauce gives it an extra flavour boost and both fruits complement the cranberry flavour well.  While the sauce is lovely without the Cointreau, it does add to the flavour of the sauce.

The method I use for the sauce is to make a simple syrup by boiling the sugar and water and then adding the cranberries, apple, and orange juice. I don’t care for runny cranberry sauce so I have learned this tip from my mother: Occasionally stir the sauce as it is cooking but make sure you stir it several times as it cools as this will help to thicken the sauce.

Don’t save this zesty cranberry-orange sauce for the holidays; enjoy it year-round!

Zesty Cranberry-Orange Sauce
Zesty Cranberry-Orange Sauce

Zesty Cranberry-Orange Sauce

Ingredients:

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
½ cup apple, finely chopped
1/3 cup orange juice
1 tsp finely grated orange rind
1½ tbsp Cointreau (optional)

Method:

In medium-sized saucepan, bring sugar and water to boil. Boil, uncovered, for 5 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.

Add cranberries, apple, and orange juice. Bring to a boil. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring periodically throughout the cooking process for about 15 minutes or until mixture thickens.

Remove saucepan from heat and add orange rind and Cointreau. Stir several times as the sauce cools to help it to thicken.

Store, covered, in refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for longer storage.

Yield: Apx. 2 cups.

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Zesty Cranberry Orange Sauce

Yield: Apx 2 cups

A mildly tart and flavorful sauce that pairs well with roast turkey and any poultry dishes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • ½ cup apple, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp finely grated orange rind
  • 1½ tbsp Cointreau (optional)

Instructions

  1. In medium-sized saucepan, bring sugar and water to boil. Boil, uncovered, for 5 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add cranberries, apple, and orange juice. Bring to a boil. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring periodically throughout the cooking process for about 15 minutes or until mixture thickens.
  3. Remove saucepan from heat and add orange rind and Cointreau. Stir several times as the sauce cools to help it to thicken.
  4. Store, covered, in refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for longer storage.
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Cranberry Blueberry Sauce

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Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry Sauce
Zesty Cranberry-Orange Sauce
Zesty Cranberry-Orange Sauce

Mock Cherry Pie

Mock Cherry Pie
Mock Cherry Pie

I’m not sure of the origins of Mock Cherry Pie but my grandmother made a version of this delight when I was a small child.  Sometimes called cranberry pie, it’s not an altogether common pie (at least in my circles) these days but it is very tasty and colorful with its deep ruby red color. It lends itself well to a lattice top crust but is often made with a standard full top crust.

Mock Cherry Pie
Mock Cherry Pie

Either fresh or frozen cranberries can be used for this filling.  I like to coarsely chop up most of the cranberries for the filling but leave some whole to give texture to the filling. The idea behind chopping the cranberries in half is that it quickly releases the juice from the berries in the cooking process.  But, don’t get crazy and chop them too finely as the pie won’t have texture if the berries are ground up too fine. Adding the raisins to the filling enhances flavour complexity and also makes the filling more substantial.  The sweetness of the raisins counters the tartness of the cranberries.

The cranberries I am using in this filling came from Mikita Farms in Farmington, near Souris in the eastern part of Prince Edward Island. To my knowledge, this is the only cranberry producer that wet harvests the berries on the Island.  To see photos I took in 2014 of the wet harvesting of cranberries, click here.

Corralling the Cranberries
Corralling the Cranberries

Cranberries freeze really well so I keep a large bag of cranberries in my freezer for use year-round. This time of the year, many farm markets will have bags of these tasty berries available so don’t hesitate to pick up a bag and store them in the freezer for later use.

Fresh PEI Cranberries Charlottetown, PEI
Fresh PEI Cranberries

The key to making the filling for this pie is to get it thickened so that it does not run when the pie is cut.  It takes a little patience but is worth the effort.  It’s important to cool down the filling before putting it in the unbaked pie shell as, otherwise, it will break down the fat in the pastry causing it to be a soggy crust.  About 30-40 minutes of cooling time will be just right. Remember to stir the filling as it cools as this will help it to cool faster and also aid in its thickening.

Mock Cherry Pie
Mock Cherry Pie

This is a lovely rich dessert, perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas. A scoop of high quality vanilla ice cream goes particularly well with Mock Cherry Pie.  The wine I have selected to pair with this dessert for my Thanksgiving dinner this year comes from Benjamin Bridge Vineyards in Gaspereau Valley, Nova Scotia.  I discovered this wine through the 2015 PEI Fall Flavours Culinary Festival for which Benjamin Bridge was this year’s wine sponsor.  Benjamin Bridge wines were served at the signature culinary events during the month-long festival in September.  My wine selection is Nova 7. This is the perfect wine to pair with this dessert because it has a hint of sweetness to compliment the tartness of cranberries and a beautiful pale blush color. I think I will seriously have to go on a field trip and pay this winery a visit!

Mock Cherry Pie Paired with Benjamin Bridge's Nova 7 Wine
Mock Cherry Pie Paired with Benjamin Bridge’s Nova 7 Wine

Mock Cherry Pie

Ingredients:

Pastry for 9” double pie crust

2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup sultana raisins
½ cup boiling water

1 cup sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
Pinch salt
1/3 cup cold water

1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp almond flavouring
1 tbsp Cointreau
1 tsp finely grated orange rind
1 tbsp butter

Method:

Chop 1 1/3 cups cranberries in half. Leave remaining 2/3 cup whole.

In medium-sized saucepan, combine the cranberries, raisins, and boiling water. Cook over high heat to the boiling point. Reduce heat to medium and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In small bowl, combine the sugar and cornstarch with 1/3 cup cold water. Whisk until smooth. Add 1-2 tbsp of the hot mixture to temper the sugar-cornstarch mixture (don’t worry if a few cranberries get scooped up, too) and pour it into the hot cranberry-raisin mixture. Stir well.

Cook over medium heat, stirring often to prevent scorching, until thickened – about 11-13 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, almond flavouring, Cointreau, grated orange rind, and butter. Stir well. Let cool for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat oven to 400°. Prepare pastry for bottom crust and roll to desired thickness. Transfer pastry to a greased 9” pie plate. Trim pastry.

Pour cooled filling into crust.

Roll out pastry for top crust. If desired, cut into strips for lattice top.

Dampen edges of bottom pie crust.

Place top crust (or, alternatively, lattice strips) over filling, gently pressing the outside edges to seal to bottom crust.

Using kitchen shears, trim excess pastry.

Crimp pastry edges or press together with the tines of a fork. If using complete top crust, cut vents in pastry to allow steam to escape as the pie cooks (omit this step if using a lattice top since there are obviously already lots of spaces for the steam to escape).

Place pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the lower third of the oven for 10 minutes at 400° then reduce heat to 375° and bake for 45-50 minutes longer or until the crust is lightly browned and juices start to bubble from the filling.

Transfer pie to a wire rack and let cool completely before cutting and serving.

Yield: 8 servings

Mock Cherry Pie

Yield: 1 - 9" pie, apx. 8 servings

A rich and flavourful pie that combines cranberries and raisins with a hint of orange flavour.

Ingredients

  • Pastry for 9” double pie crust
  • 2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup sultana raisins
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp almond flavouring
  • 1 tbsp Cointreau
  • 1 tsp finely grated orange rind
  • 1 tbsp butter

Instructions

  1. Chop 1 1/3 cups cranberries in half. Leave remaining 2/3 cup whole.
  2. In medium-sized saucepan, combine the cranberries, raisins, and boiling water. Cook over high heat to the boiling point. Reduce heat to medium and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. In small bowl, combine the sugar and cornstarch with 1/3 cup cold water. Whisk until smooth. Add 1-2 tbsp of the hot mixture to temper the sugar-cornstarch mixture and pour it into the hot cranberry-raisin mixture. Stir well. Cook over medium heat, stirring often to prevent scorching, until thickened – about 11-13 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, almond flavouring, Cointreau, grated orange rind, and butter. Stir well. Let cool for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Preheat oven to 400°. Prepare pastry for bottom crust and roll to desired thickness. Transfer pastry to a greased 9” pie plate. Trim pastry. Pour cooled filling into crust.
  5. Roll out pastry for top crust. If desired, cut into strips for lattice top. Dampen edges of bottom pie crust and place top crust (or, alternatively, lattice strips) over filling, gently pressing the outside edges to seal to bottom crust. Trim excess pastry. Crimp pastry edges or press together with the tines of a fork. If using complete top crust, cut vents in pastry to allow steam to escape as the pie cooks (omit this step if using a lattice top since there are obviously already lots of spaces for the steam to escape).
  6. Place pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the lower third of the oven for 10 minutes at 400° then reduce heat to 375° and bake for 45-50 minutes longer or until the crust is lightly browned and juices start to bubble from the filling.
  7. Transfer pie to a wire rack and let cool completely before cutting and serving.
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Cranberry Pancakes

Cranberry Pancakes
Cranberry Pancakes

I can find endless uses for cranberries – they are one of my favorite berries.  The berries in today’s recipe came from Mikita Farms in Farmington, near Souris, PEI.  You can see the photos of them wet harvesting the cranberries last fall by clicking here.  I bought a huge bag of cranberries because they freeze really well and I make a multitude of recipes with them throughout the year.

In this recipe, I use the cranberries in pancakes.  I have combined and blended four key ingredients in this recipe to give the pancakes a rich flavour – eggnog, mashed banana, grated orange rind, and cranberries.  The berries can either be fresh or frozen. I simply chop the berries in half before stirring them into the pancake batter.

Cranberry-Banana Pancakes

Ingredients:

1 extra large egg
2½ tbsp cooking oil
½ cup eggnog
½ cup whole milk
½ tsp vanilla
2 tbsp mashed banana
1 cup flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2½ tbsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp nutmeg
1½ tsp grated orange rind
¾ cup chopped cranberries, fresh or frozen

Method:

Assemble ingredients.

In medium-sized bowl, whisk together the egg, oil, eggnog, milk, and vanilla. Add the mashed banana.

In separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and grated orange rind.

Whisk the dry ingredients together to mix thoroughly.

Stir flour mixture into wet ingredients. Stir just until combined.

Stir in cranberries.

Let batter sit for apx. 5 minutes before cooking pancakes. Batter will be lumpy.

Heat non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Use paper towel to lightly grease pan with oil.

Pour apx. ⅓ cup of batter into hot frying pan and cook pancakes until surface bubbles appear and the top appears dry and set. Gently lift the edge of a pancake – if it is lightly browned, flip the pancakes over with a wide spatula. Cook 1-2 minutes until pancake is lightly browned underneath.

Transfer pancakes to a heatproof plate or cookie sheet and place in oven set to warming temperature to keep pancakes warm while cooking remaining pancakes.

Serve with a pat of butter, maple syrup, or your favourite topping and fresh fruit.

Yield:  Apx. 8 – 5” pancakes

Cranberry Pancakes

Yield: Apx. 8 – 5” pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 extra large egg
  • 2½ tbsp cooking oil
  • ½ cup eggnog
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp mashed banana
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2½ tbsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1½ tsp grated orange rind
  • ¾ cup chopped cranberries, fresh or frozen

Instructions

  1. Assemble ingredients.
  2. In medium-sized bowl, whisk together the egg, oil, eggnog, milk, and vanilla. Add the mashed banana.
  3. In separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and grated orange rind. Mix well.
  4. Stir flour mixture into wet ingredients. Stir just until combined. Stir in cranberries. Let batter sit for apx. 5 minutes before cooking pancakes. Batter will be lumpy.
  5. Heat non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Use paper towel to lightly grease pan with oil.
  6. Pour apx. 1/3 cup of batter into hot frying pan and cook pancakes until surface bubbles appear and the top appears dry and set. Gently lift the edge of a pancake – if it is lightly browned, flip the pancakes over with a wide spatula. Cook 1-2 minutes until pancake is lightly browned underneath.
  7. Transfer pancakes to a heatproof plate or cookie sheet and place in oven set to warming temperature to keep pancakes warm while cooking remaining pancakes.
  8. Serve with a pat of butter, maple syrup, or your favourite topping and fresh fruit.
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Cranberry-Banana Eggnog Muffins

Cranberry-Banana Eggnog Muffin
Cranberry-Banana Eggnog Muffin

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.

Cranberry-Banana Eggnog Muffin
Cranberry-Banana Eggnog Muffin

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.

Cranberry Bog

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.

Flooded Cranberry Bog
Flooded Cranberry Bog

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.

Floating Cranberries
Floating Cranberries

Workers prepare the booms around the perimeter of the bog.  These will be used to gather up the floating cranberries.

Preparing the Booms to Corral the Cranberries
Preparing the Booms to Corral the 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.

Corralling the Cranberries
Corralling the Cranberries

A worker guides the booms along the route.

Coralled, crimson cranberries!

Corralled Cranberries
Corralled 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.

Cranberry-Banana Eggnog Muffins
Cranberry-Banana Eggnog Muffins

These bistro-style muffins pack a rich flavour punch and are a treat for sure!  They also freeze very well.

Cranberry-Banana and Eggnog Muffin
Cranberry-Banana Eggnog Muffin
Cranberry-Banana Eggnog Muffins

Ingredients:

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

Streusel

Ingredients:

¼ cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp chopped pecans
½ tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp butter

Method:

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

Cranberry-Banana and Eggnog Muffin
Cranberry-Banana Eggnog Muffin

The photo below shows the texture of the muffins.

Texture of Cranberry-Banana and Eggnog Muffins
Texture of Cranberry-Banana Eggnog Muffins

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