I couldn’t agree with poet Denise Levertov more, there really is a sweetness that hovers in August. Vermont is so beautiful right now. The garden is overflowing with vegetables, our peach tree is drooping with fruit and the fields are bursting with wildflowers. I think the sweetness also comes from holding onto the days we have now as seasonal change is coming,» Read more about: August Newsletter »
Maple Sugar Smoked Cherry Bounce
It’s summer in Vermont and the cherry trees are loaded! Sour cherries are the most adaptable cold hardy tree, so a little sweetening with maple sugar makes them perfect.
This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine to use maple sugar rather than bland white sugar. The maple sugar not only adds vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, but also melds well with the smokiness of the cherries. We have a productive sour cherry tree that works well for this recipe, but Bing cherries from the grocery store are also perfect.
This vibrant, homemade cordial is infused with savory smokiness and rich maple sugar. The three month wait time increases everything good about the handful of ingredients. Put it away in a cool dark place and pull out for your first trial on a chilly fall night!
- 6 cups fresh Bing cherries (about 1 3/4 pounds), stemmed and pitted, divided
- 2 cups granulated maple sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 quart (32 ounces) brandy or rye whiskey
Prepare smoker with cherry wood chunks according to manufacturer’s instructions, bringing internal temperature to about 225°F; maintain temperature 15 to 20 minutes. Place 1 cup (about 4 1/2 ounces) cherries in an even layer in an 8-inch square disposable aluminum pan, and place on smoker grates. Close lid. Smoke cherries, maintaining temperature inside smoker around 225°F, until cherries are infused with desired degree of smoky flavor, 30 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes, shaking pan occasionally.
Combine smoked cherries, maple sugar, lemon juice, and remaining 5 cups fresh cherries in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until maple sugar is dissolved and mixture is very juicy, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool 1 hour.
Pour cherry mixture into a large, clean lidded jar, and top with brandy or whiskey. Screw lid on tightly, and store in a cool, dark place for 3 months.
As summer rolls in and we mourn the loss of so many beloved traditions and activities due to the pandemic, we’re also faced with examining some uncomfortable truths about our country and ourselves. I like this quote from French philosopher, Albert Camus as it encourages one to ponder how we can improve in our lives and our actions,» Read more about: July Newsletter »
Dear friends, what a tumultuous spring we have had in the United States and worldwide. While the Covid-19 lockdown proved challenging for our hearts and minds, we have also been consumed with the clear and present racism in our country. Our president continues to stoke the flames of hate and has also now worked to limit rights for transgender Americans.» Read more about: June Newsletter »
…..bring May flowers, as the saying goes. It happens to be true, but it’s also a nice phrase to cheer us up during these wet and chilly spring days. Up in Huntington we have late season snowfalls and the ground is slow to appear. Although I yearn for the early signs of spring, our northern elevation also means our sugaring season can last later into April. If the weather warms up too quickly, the sugaring season ends abruptly.» Read more about: April Newsletter »
As the eighteenth century saying goes, “March, in like a lion, out like a lamb.” Most believe the saying refers to weather which is still quite wintry in the beginning, and possibly more mild by the end of March. This March has proved no different in terms of weather , but also in terms of the confluence of multiple serious illnesses and injuries in our family and the arrival of the coronavirus in Vermont.» Read more about: March Newsletter »
February has been a busy month around here! Sugaring season is starting earlier and earlier due to climate change, so we have to adjust our schedules to catch sap when it’s flowing. Matt stopped his restaurant renovation and came back to the farm. He’s been clearing lines that come down due to weather or animals. It’s also a great time to start cutting wood for next year’s sugaring. A friend is coming to help tap tomorrow and we’ll be boiling as soon as there’s enough sap!» Read more about: February Newsletter »
Happy new year! We had a busy end to 2019 and rang in 2020 with my mom, sister and her kids who were visiting from Hawaii. They love Vermont and their energy for outdoor play and exploration is contagious. We built a bonfire, hiked, sledded and explored the sugarbush. They were enamored by the birds and woodland creatures, and talked endlessly about environmental concerns and how to take care of the planet. My niece and nephews in Montpelier,» Read more about: January NewsLetter »
Late May brings us abundant rhubarb and the season’s first strawberries. My grandmother had a huge patch of rhubarb and when my family sold her house, I brought part of it to my garden. I have many plants that are special to me based on their history in someone else’s garden. The rhubarb ties me to my childhood, and cool spring nights, visiting my grandparents in Huntington.
You can use any crust recipe you like.» Read more about: Maple Sugar Strawberry Rhubarb Pie »
It’s May in Vermont and the stores are packed with strawberries. Our own local strawberries won’t be available until June, but it’s hard to resist buying this delicious little fruit as soon as it becomes available. This sauce can be used in a myriad of ways. Try it over cheesecake, ice cream or Greek yogurt. It’s also a fantastic addition to savory dishes. Serve it alongside a roasted pork loin or on a cheese platter.» Read more about: Maple Sugar Strawberry Sauce »