The Sugarmaker's Companion: An Integrated Approach to Producing Syrup from Maple, Birch, and Walnut Trees by Michael Farrell focuses on the business of syrup and sugar making. If you want to tap maples or other trees for profit, this book is a worthwhile investment. Even if you don't have trees, the book still has merit for small producers of many types. Producing an excellent product is no longer enough – you have to be able to market it, and create value added products. Those often overlooked areas are what keep small farms alive. [Read more…]
These maple macaroons are a great way to use up leftover egg whites to make a less sweet treat. They're sweetened with maple syrup and thickened with arrowroot, which produces a light, crunchy cookie. These take quite a while to bake, so keep that in mind before you start mixing. If you find that your finished cookies aren't quite as crisp as you would like, you can extend the cooking time at low heat, or put them in the dehydrator for a few hours. (If the weather is humid, they may absorb moisture from the air.) [Read more…]
Maple Sugaring Season with Silloway Maple
Maple sugaring season – the ten day forecast…. sugarmakers are watching, some are heading to the sugarbush to tap. Others are finishing up logging jobs, or busily making “drops”, the two foot piece of tubing with a spout on one end, and a T on the other. The temperature must rise above freezing in the day, and fall below overnight for the sap to run. Within the next three weeks, our crew will head out with maple tapping equipment, getting the tubing up and tight where there is damage, putting on new spouts, and tapping! [Read more…]
Did you know which state produces the most cranberries? That would be my home – Wisconsin, which produces nearly 2/3 of the cranberry crop annually. Near my home in North East Wisconsin, we also have Door County, which produces a sizable crop of tart cherries, plus quite a number of maple syrup producers.
I figured I'd try something a little different this year and combine three of my favorite Wisconsin foods – cranberries, tart cherries and maple syrup. Cherries are naturally sweeter than cranberries, so this allows you to cut back on the sugar compared to standard cranberry sauce. Maple syrup and sugar also have trace minerals not found in refined sugars. And, of course, brightly colored cranberries and cherries are also loaded with antioxidants. [Read more…]
Some of you may remember that we planted some chestnut trees last year as part of our efforts to expand the number of different food crops that we grow and create part of our permaculture landscape. Before we planted any more of them, I figured I'd better make sure we actually like to eat them, so I went hunting for chestnut recipes and chestnuts. Costco had some organic roasted chestnuts for sale, so that covered the nut end of things, and these Maple Pumpkin Blondies from The Healthy Gluten Free Life looked like something my family would be willing to eat, so I started from there and made a few tweaks to work with our flavor preferences and pantry contents. I'm rechristening my version as “Cranberry Chestnut Bars”, because the texture is nothing like a proper blondie (no offense to THGFL – they are just not blondies). These bars have a texture more like really good quickbread – moist and tender, a little bit heavier than most cakes. The cranberries add brightness to the recipe – a little “pop” of flavor. They'd be great without the chocolate chips, too, but of course the boys are more likely to gobble things up if there's chocolate involved. [Read more…]