Local Maple Syrup
Starting in late winter, the days grow warmer while the nights remain chilly. This temperature fluctuation sends sap running through the maple trees, and we get to work continuing the tradition of crafting locally-made maple syrup. We start by collecting sap from hundreds of maple trees throughout Weston with teams of middle school students and volunteers from the community. Next, we boil the sap in an evaporator fired by our own firewood to remove the water from the sap, and create a beautiful, amber-colored syrup. Each year we produce anywhere from 50 to 70 gallons of maple syrup, which we then bottle and sell through our Farmstand. Want to get involved?
- Everyone is welcome to attend our popular Sugaring Off Festival. In late March, we host this popular festival at the Weston
- Middle School Sugar House. Participants enjoy the season’s maple syrup, pancakes, maple sugar candy, music, and student-led tours of the Sugar House and maple sugaring process.
- If you are a school group, scout troop, or homeschool group, sign up for one of our educational tours of our maple sugar operation.
- If you are a middle-school student, have fun learning how to make maple syrup in our After-School Maple Program.
- If you are interested in helping to tap trees, collect sap, or assist in other parts of sugaring, keep an eye on your inbox for details about volunteer days and other events.
Check out the Maple Syrup Process!
MAPLE SYRUP INSPIRED RECIPES
- All-American Baked Beans
recipe details(Adapted from The Silver Palate New Basics Cookbook)
1 pound dried navy or Great Northern beans (I use Baer’s Beans, available locally)
8 ounces good quality slab or thick-cut smoked bacon, cut into 1/4" pieces
1 cup chopped onion
2 large cloves garlic, chopped, plus one large clove, smashed
1 large bay leaf
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 cups ketchup
6 tablespoons maple syrup (darker syrup is best)
6 tablespoons dark molasses
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• Rinse and pick through the beans. Soak them overnight in a large pot of water.
- Rinse the soaked beans well under cold water and place them in a large heavy pot, along with the smashed clove of garlic and the bay leaf. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until tender, for about one hour. NOTE: If your beans are older, they will take a bit longer to become tender, just make sure the beans ARE tender before proceeding with the recipe. Drain the beans, discard the bay leaf and reserve the cooking liquid.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
- Place a 5-quart flameproof casserole or dutch oven over medium heat and saute bacon until slightly crisp and the fat is rendered, about five minutes. Add the onions and garlic, cooking until they are wilted, about 5 minutes.
• Add the brown sugar and stir over medium-low heat until it has dissolved. Stir in the ketchup, syrup, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Add the drained beans and mix well. At this point you can transfer the mixture into a real bean pot, if you have one, or leave it in the Dutch oven.
• Cover and transfer the pot to the oven. Bake, stirring occasionally, for 2 1/2 hours. Make sure you scrape the bottom when you stir the pot.
• Remove pot, stir well and add 3/4 cup of the reserved bean liquid, cover, and bake another 30 minutes. Remove the cover, stir and taste the beans to make sure they’re cooked through. If the beans are not completely tender, add another 3/4 cup of the reserved liquid, replace the lid and cook another 30 minutes. Remove pot, take off the cover, stir and put the pot back in the oven, uncovered and bake until the sauce is thick and syrupy, about another 10-15 minutes. Serve hot.
- Transfer any leftover, cooled beans into an airtight container, they will keep well for about 5 days in the fridge. Add a bit of water, as necessary, when reheating. Enjoy!!
- Cole Slaw with Asian-Style Dressing
Fresh or Dried Dill
Shred cabbage, finely slice peppers and scallions, grate carrots, and chop dill. Assemble all ingredients in a large bowl, in proportions that you like. Prepare Asian-Style Dressing, below. Pour some of the dressing over the slaw, tossing everything together until all of it is evenly coated, adding more dressing as necessary. Toss everything together well and refrigerate for at least an hour prior to serving. Gently toss Slaw again before serving and garnish with toasted sesame seeds. Serve.
1 cup rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill or ½ teaspoon dried dill weed
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh pepper
1 teaspoon maple syrup
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
Place the vinegar, oils, maple syrup, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper into a large jar and shake very well. This makes about 1½ cups of dressing, and it keeps well, refrigerated for up to 14 days.
- Kale Salad
Kale – any type
Almonds or Sunflower Seeds
Salt and Pepper to taste
Wash and stem the Kale. Wrap leaves in a clean towel to dry it very well. Tear leaves into bite-sized pieces, drizzle with olive oil and massage the leaves by gently rubbing them together. Toss the kale with the cranberries and sunflower seeds, a generous squeeze of lemon juice and drizzle with a tiny amount of maple syrup, add a few grinds of pepper and several pinches of salt, toss well, taste, correct seasoning. Serve.
2 cups rolled oats (old fashioned kind, not instant)
½ cup wheat germ
¼ cup flax seeds
1 tsp. cinnamon
¾ cup unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup chopped nuts (pecan, walnut, almond, as desired or omit if allergic)
1 cup dried cherries or cranberries
¼ cup melted coconut oil
¼ cup maple syrup
Preheat oven to 300º. Mix oats, wheat germ, flax seeds, coconut, sunflower seeds and nuts together. Combine coconut oil, cinnamon and maple syrup, mix well and pour over dried ingredients. Toss everything together, mixing well. Spread mixture evenly on an 11 x 17 sheet pan, or a high-sided large Pyrex or baking dish and bake in oven for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to ensure even browning. The granola is done when it’s lightly browned all over and fragrant. When done, remove pan from oven and allow granola to cool completely. Add cranberries and stir well before storing in an airtight container at room temp for up to 6 weeks. Granola can also be stored in the freezer.
Maple and Chile BBQ Sauce
By Kathy Gunst, WBUR
Kathy’s Note: This dark sauce is a nice balance of sweet, spicy, and sour. Brush it on ribs, burgers, chicken or serve as a condiment with any grilled food.
Makes about 1 cup
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Chinese chili paste, or hot pepper sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup medium or dark maple syrup
1 cup ketchup
Salt and pepper to taste
In a medium saucepan heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, for about 4 minute. Stir in the chili paste and cook 5 seconds. Add the soy sauce and vinegar and then stir in the vinegar and ketchup, stirring to create a smooth sauce. Let cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, or until thickened. Let cool. The sauce will keep for about 4 days, covered in an airtight jar in the refrigerator, or in the freezer for a couple of months.