Maple syrup is the sap from maple trees that has been collected, heated, and concentrated down to a sweet liquid. This is different than what is sold at the grocery store as “pancake syrup,” which is primarily corn syrup.
Sugar Maple Trees begin to produce sugary water called sap when the temperatures reach above 40 degrees F during the day and below 32 degrees F at night. The freezing and thawing temperature fluctuations push sap through the tree so that it has the nutrients needed to grow. You can read a more comprehensive explanation of this process here.
Across the North Country, the traditional sugar-making season is underway. Most northern New York maple syrup producers get busy tapping their trees in late February or early March, in preparation for the greatly-anticipated four to six weeks of sap flow generally expected to begin in mid- to late March and continue on into April.
The sugar-making season and the weeks that follow are an extremely important selling period for maple syrup-producing farm-families. Many of them participate in Maple Weekend, an annual event championed by the New York State Maple Producers Association (NYSMPA) and supported by Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Cornell Maple Program, as an opportunity for individuals and families to visit one or more of our family-run maple sugaring operations and see, first-hand, how sugar maple trees are tapped and sap is collected and boiled into pure, delicious maple syrup.
For many producers, Maple Weekend marks the start of their annual retail sales. Unfortunately, it appears that, once again, the COVID-19 pandemic will be seriously impacting those sales. Maple Weekend has been canceled again this year.
A recipe for baking an herbed foccacia bread, an Italian yeast bread backed in a sheet pan and flavored with olive oil and herbs. It is simple, easy, and smells absolutely incredible when it is cooking.
Winter squash is a group of several species of annual fruit in the genus Cucurbita, including the popular butternut, acorn, delicata, and spaghetti squash. What we call “pumpkins” are also winter squash. Winter squash is different from summer squash, like the zucchini, because it’s harvested and eaten when the seeds are matured and the skin has hardened. Due to their hard rind and sweet dense flesh, they can be stored for long periods in cool dark storage, up to a year from harvest.
My grandmother loved parsnips, and would use them in her cooking like most people would use carrots. You could find them in her red flannel hash, in soups and stews, and even mashed, in heaping bowls, alongside the mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving. Although I did not appreciate parsnips when I was a child, I have grown to love them almost as much as my grandmother did. This simple recipe, which beautifully blends the earthy flavor of parsnips with the sweet acidity of tomatoes and the sharp bite of peppercorns, reminds me of her.
Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Essex County was awarded a $385,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as part of the Local Food Promotion Program. Funds will be used to expand CCE Essex’s existing Farm to School program into a Farm to Institution program, working with schools, hospitals, senior centers, retirement homes, correctional facilities, colleges and universities, and early child care centers.
One avenue for reaching project goals will be to build upon Adirondack Harvest’s wholesale and local food outreach capabilities, through marketing and promotion, web development, and networking. CCE Essex staff will also collaborate with Adirondack Medical Center, Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA), the Essex County Soil and Water Conservation District, Harvest New York, and the Hub on the Hill to accomplish project goals.
This old-fashioned recipe is an easy way to make a delicious loaf of yeast bread. I usually use whole-wheat flour and blackstrap molasses, but you can use whatever wheat flour and molasses you have on hand (if you successfully substitute other types of flour for the wheat, please let me know!). It does not require a lot of kneading, and will make your kitchen smell amazing when it bakes.
These cinnamon rolls are a holiday breakfast staple in my home. Don’t let the number of steps in this recipe keep you from trying it – this is actually quite easy to make. Although I usually use traditional, animal-based ingredients when I make them for my family, I have also successfully made these cinnamon rolls using only vegan ingredients – and my family never knew the difference (shhhh!).
This is one of those “don’t knock it until you’ve tried it” recipes. When I make batches of these, they do not last very long at all. I usually cook them in the oven (much faster than dehydrating!), and if I want them extra-crispy, will cook them directly on a cookie rack that is placed on a baking tray. That strategy allows both sides of the eggplant to cook, giving it a fantastic texture.
I follow a whole food, plant-based (WFPB) diet, and rarely bake treats for myself, because most baked goods have lots of ingredients that I simply won’t eat. This recipe for banana bread not only meets my dietary requirements, but also produces a dense, moist banana bread that is surprisingly delicious, considering the lack of oil, eggs, or most other ingredients normally found in banana bread recipes.
Happy Thanksgiving! I’m taking today and the next few days off for the holiday. In case you are looking for some last-minute recipes or food inspiration, here are a few treasures from the Almanack archive:
Kim and Pam Ladd, who wrote the popular “Happy Hour in the High Peaks: An Adirondack Bar Guide,” are two ladies who know cocktails. They put together some favorite Thanksgiving Cocktail Recipes.
This comfort food recipe, courtesy of Cornell University Cooperative Extension’s Wild Harvest Table, is a fantastic way to showcase ground venison. Ground venison is a fantastic source of inexpensive, locally-sourced lean protein that is a staple in many North Country homes. If you do not have ground venison, you can easily substitute ground beef or turkey for equally delicious results!
The Adirondack Almanack is a public forum dedicated to promoting and discussing current events, history, arts, nature and outdoor recreation and other topics of interest to the Adirondacks and its communities
We publish commentary and opinion pieces from voluntary contributors, as well as news updates and event notices from area organizations. Contributors include veteran local writers, historians, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Adirondack region. The information, views and opinions expressed by these various authors are not necessarily those of the Adirondack Almanack or its publisher, the Adirondack Explorer.
General inquiries about the Adirondack Almanack should be directed to editor Melissa Hart.
To advertise on the Adirondack Almanack, or to receive information on rates and design, please click here.