Enjoying the "Fruit" of Maple Sugaring
What an exciting time of year! The running of sap from sugar maple trees signals the beginning of spring. It is the first gift that the earth gives us after a long winter of living off of the root cellar. Despite a crazy winter, and pretty unpredictable temperatures this March, Shelburne Farms has already produced a record amount of syrup for the season: We hit 250 gallons on March 13. And the sap is still running. It's been great to have our new sugarhouse in operation down at the Market Garden.
Now, I'm sure that most of you already know how best to enjoy the early runs of sweet sap from the maple tree: pour the finished syrup over a large stack of fluffy buttermilk pancakes. (Or, if you're a true Vermonter, put it in your coffee!)
Here's a new way to enjoy it: a recipe for a maple-Ancho chili dressing. Use some of the darker syrup to help complement the robust flavor of the Ancho chili. The dressing is great on some mixed greens or for a kale salad. Or try it as a marinade for chicken or pork. Or for some vegetables.
Maple-Ancho Chili Dressing
1/2 cup dark maple syrup
1/2 cup good quality sherry vinegar
1 clove garlic (the garlic shoots are already 8” high in the Market Garden hoophouse)!
1 small shallot
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons ancho chili powder
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 cup olive oil
pinch of salt
Combine all ingredients in a Vitamix or similar blender and blend until smooth. Or, if you don't have a blender, mince the garlic, shallots, and thyme to a paste and whisk in the rest of the ingredients.
And if you're looking for some of Shelburne Farms own 2016 syrup, stop by our Welcome Center and Farm Store.