Recipe: Wild Low-Bush Cranberry Lemon Muffins & Cranberry Marmalade
By: Natasha Price | 13 September, 2014 | 3877 Views
This is my favorite time of year in Anchorage. The air is crisp and smells of earth and cranberries. Cranberries are my favorite wild berry to pick because they are durable, highly nutritious and they freeze well. They can also be substituted for any recipe that calls for commercial cranberries.
I only pick low-bush cranberries, also called lingonberries. These short plants can be found in most Anchorage forests. They have round, shiny leaves and if there’s enough sunlight during the summer they bear tart, red berries. High-bush cranberries, which are abundant in Anchorage, have a similar flavor but they have a large seed in each berry, must be strained during processing and aren’t pleasing to eat whole.
One would be inclined to harvest low-bush cranberries when they are at their brightest red color, but it’s best to wait until after the first frost when they’ve turned a deep wine red. I don’t know the science behind it, but the berries become juicier after they’ve endured a frost.
I found buried in my freezer a couple of pints of last year’s cranberries. So to make way for this year’s harvest, I decided on a simple muffin recipe based on this one from Simple Nourished Living. I also whipped up some of my mother’s cranberry marmalade. The cranberries have so much natural pectin there is no need to add any of the store bought kind. This simple marmalade is a perfect addition to any breakfast table.
Wild Cranberry & Lemon Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
I’m not much of a baker, so I was surprised by how thick the batter was. Have no fear, for these muffins were fluffy, tart, sweet and zesty. It’s like a party in my mouth!
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1 Tbs. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- scant 1/3 cup sugar
- zest of one lemon
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil, cooled
- 1 cup low-bush cranberries, frozen or thawed
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients and the lemon zest.
In another bowl combine the milk, egg and oil.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. The batter should be lumpy and wet, but almost the consistency of dough. If it’s too dry add a little more milk. Fold in the cranberries and divide batter into a muffin tin lined with cupcake liners. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown on top. Let cool for a few minutes before removing muffins from tin and placing on a cooling rack.
Wild Cranberry Marmalade
- 3 oranges
- 1/8 tsp. baking soda
- 4-5 cups wild low-bush cranberries
- 4 cups sugar
Remove the skins of the oranges in quarters. Shave off as much of the white pith as you can from the rind and slice rind very thin. Cover rinds with water and boil with baking soda for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile remove the membrane from each orange segment and reserve the pulp.
Combine pulp, rinds with their water, cranberries and sugar in a saucepan. Boil, stirring often, for 25 minutes.
Pour into sanitized jars, add lids and process in a boiling water canner for 5 minutes. Remove jars and let cool. When you hear that satisfying “pop” from each jar, it means they are ready for your pantry.
Natasha Price, Contributor
Natasha Price was born and raised in Anchorage. She has always had a passion for making useful things, whether they are eaten, knit, sewn or randomly glued and assembled. She received her bachelor’s degree in French and journalism from the University of Alaska Anchorage and spent six fulfilling years working at Skinny Raven Sports. She is currently Program Associate at Spirit of Youth and also does voice over work around town. If you’re awake at 3 a.m. and tune into KLEF 98.1 you might hear Natasha delivering public service announcements. She lives in Anchorage with her husband, Stephen, and young son, Jack. Alaska Knit Nat can be found at www.knitnatak.blogspot.com and on Instagram at #alaskaknitnat