Monhegan Cranberry Muffins

cranberry picking 2

Monhegan Cranberry Muffins

Thanksgiving is just days away…

I woke up this morning and realized that Thanksgiving is only days away and I hadn’t taken the time to collect cranberries for our holiday festivities.

I had heard that there were plenty to be found at Lobster Cove and so I headed out.

lobster cove sign

Contrary to popular thought, cranberries do not grow in water, like ponds or lakes. The images we most often see are of harvest times. Areas are flooded so that the cranberries float to the top. cranberry bog

Wild cranberries can be found in bogs. Bogs are wet, spongy ground. In particular for cranberry growth, layers of sand, peat, gravel and clay are preferred.

FullSizeRender (5)

These bogs are often acidic which is one of the reasons cranberries are so high in phyto-nutrients. Cranberry’s high phyto-nutrient content helps prevent UTI’s (urinary tract infections) in women prone to getting them as well, they may help prevent stomach ulcers that are attributed to H. Pylori bacteria.

Cranberries are a great source for vitamin C, manganese and dietary fiber.


Monhegan Island’s Lobster Cove area is the perfect bog environment for cranberries.

lobster cove 2

Lobster Cove has ample fresh water flowing through with an outlet to the ocean. Cranberries can generally be found near similar habitats.

Today was relatively mild despite the overcast skies when I left the house, no need for a hat or gloves, just a light jacket.

Since you can’t walk down the road on Monhegan without running into someone you know, I got side tracked from my destination for a bit in conversation with a young boy, his mother and a year-round resident. The young boy was researching community and what community means, using Monhegan as his case study. It was quite an interesting conversation and I was impressed that this was a topic the young boy was researching and studying in his school.

I showed them the fire barn where we house one of the fire trucks and talked about how we get water, electricity, and heat and how town government works on Monhegan.

By the time I arrived at Lobster Cove, the temperature had dropped significantly and sprinkles of rain were falling. Which reminded me of this quote:

If you don’t like the weather in New England  now, just wait a few minutes ~ Mark Twain

I wasn’t born in Maine, so I find these old-fashioned adages hysterical.

The person who told me about the plethora of cranberries at Lobster Cove made it sound like I would have to hunt a bit, but as soon as I got down there, I stepped about 5 inches off the trail and hit pay dirt.

with filter cranberry
Cranberries grow on trailing vines similar to strawberries. The leaves are small and oblong. The vine thin but strong.
cranberry in hand 2
I love the variety of color in cranberry. See the one that is very light, and then others are dark ruby. The color difference is due to the amount of sunlight that hit the berry. The darker red, means more sunlight hit it and therefore higher levels of anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are phyto-nutrients.
cranberry in hand
This year the cranberries are relatively small. It was a dry year, this may have contributed to the diminutive size.
cranberry 7
In no time I get plenty of berries.

In about 15 minutes, I harvested more than enough to make the recipes I wanted for Thanksgiving. A good thing too, because by now it was sprinkling harder, the wind had picked up and my hands were freezing.

If the weather hadn’t turned cold, I would have stayed and collected more cranberries. Cranberries freeze wonderfully.

Back home in my warm kitchen, I begin to prepare the berries for one of my favorite recipes,

Monhegan Cranberry Muffins


3 TBSP. butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups cranberries
2 cups sifted flour
1 TBSP. baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1 cup milk


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Rinse and sort the cranberries. The cranberries should be firm to the touch, not soft at all. Now I am assuming that not everyone has the luxury of having a cranberry bog in their back door. In this case purchase fresh, whole cranberries either from a Farmer’s Market or grocery store.
  3. Mix 3 tablespoons butter with 1/2 cup sugar.
  4. Grease a small 12 serving muffin tin or a large 6 serving muffin tin
  5. Divide the sugar/butter mixture between the cups
  6. Sprinkle cranberries evenly between the cups
  7. Sift together, flour, baking powder, 1/2 cup sugar and salt
  8. Cut in 1/2 cup butter with a pastry cutter or two knives, cut until fine crumb consistency is achieved
  9. Whisk together in a separate bowl, egg and milk.
  10. Add to flour mixture
  11. Stir just enough to mix (batter will be slightly lumpy)
  12. Spoon batter into muffin cups
  13. Bake for 25 minutes

Cranberries are certainly an under utilized fruit. I hope you will make this recipe and add it to your food traditions for the holiday. Aside from cranberry sauce, what are some of the ways you use cranberries?


P1040069I am yogi, nutritionist and chef living on a beautiful island 12 miles out to sea, Monhegan Island. I live with my husband and 19 year-old cat.

I get my kicks from making delicious recipes from what I have on hand. Living on an island, a well stocked pantry, freezer and kitchen garden are necessities. I look to recipes for inspiration and then get creative with what I have on hand.

I counsel busy, career-oriented people on how to lose weight and prevent disease using virtual formats including Skype and phone. Initial 1 hour health assessments are FREE, make your appointment today. Contact US

From May through October, you can find me leading yoga retreats on the backside of the island. Yoga outdoors is truly transforming.


Stonewall Kitchen, LLC

SodaStream (Soda-Club) USA