Michigan Maple and More

filling sugar shed

The sugar shed is quiet. No steam billowing from the cupula, no roaring fire beneath the evaporator, and the scent of maple syrup no longer floats from the shed. Instead, the sap buckets are stored in the big barn, the storage tanks need scrubbing, and yellow blueberry lugs hold almost seventy-gallons of maple syrup. For a few afternoons, John and a friend have stacked wood in the shed as we prepare for the 2020 sugaring season. Spring peepers call from the blueberry bog, reminding us that it is time to plant onion sets and spinach. Time to prune peach trees and to disk in a cover crop of rye, and plant oats.

Many of the friends of the farm describe dribbling maple syrup over their morning serving of oatmeal sprinkled with blueberries. They recognize how maple syrup provides nutrients that protect their heart and immune system. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/maple-syrup.html. Here is another way to add maple’s flavor and sweetness to your lunch or supper. I serve this salad dressing almost every day.

1 cup olive oil

¼ cup maple syrup

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

¼ cup water (optional)

2 Tablespoons dried onion flakes

¼ tsp coarse black pepper. I buy a blend mixed with dried garlic flakes

Options: Any of combination of these extras adds a different flavor and creates variety.

1 Tablespoon garden seasoning….a mixture of dried herbs and vegetables

1 Tablespoon tahini

1-2 Tablespoons minced basil or cilantro, or chervil.

1 tsp minced thyme and/or chives. I prefer garlic chives

1 tsp minced fresh garlic

Add the basic ingredient to a one-pint jar and shake. Allow the mixture to sit for fifteen minutes or until the dried onions are soft. I keep the jar on my kitchen counter and have never had a problem with it spoiling.

One last tip, often after I’ve removed the pesto I made from the blender, I pour the contents of the salad dressing jar into the blender and whiz it. The last bit of pesto adds a special flavor to the dressing.

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