Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Life Is Sweet

Historically, Vermont sweetness substituted much of the sugar production banned during the Civil War. Cane, beet, and other sugars produced in the South were not available, so all Northern states began using maple syrup as their sweetener. Therefore, Vermonters know how to use maple syrup in a variety of ways. 

Even with such a rich history in sugaring, it is still no easy task to sugar in Vermont. With winter temperatures changing frequently, one gambles on the exact time to tap our Maple trees. Once a tap or hole is made in the tree one has about 1 month to retrieve as much sap as possible from a single tap. After that the tap, due to wind and weather will dry up. Temperatures of 35-40 degrees in the day and 20's at night are perfect for the sap to run or drip from a maple tree. There is only a 6 - 8 hour period of time when the sap runs. The trees release this sweet liquid that is then collected and boiled until sweet and delicious maple syrup is made. 40 gallons of sap makes 1 gallon of syrup, so you can imagine the time it takes to boil sap to syrup. Once the syrup is made, My Kids' Kitchen experiments with the product by making "Maple Walnut Scones", "Maple Oat Bread", "Maple Pumpkin Butter", "Maple Walnut Granola", "Maple Cream Frosting", "Maple Donuts" and "Maple Vinaigrette Dressing" just to name a few. 

 We use maple syrup as a substitute for sugar, this adds another element to any dish we make. Try making one of our favorite maple recipe:

1/2 cup balsamic vinaigrette
3/4 cup of Maple Syrup
 A pinch of Pepper
  1 cup of salad oil
 2 cups of Olive Oil
 Mix balsamic vinaigrette, pepper and maple syrup into blender. Slowly add salad oil then olive oil until they are well blended. Toss green salad with vinaigrette and enjoy!

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