This month in Farm to School we are focusing in on our senses and tasting our way back in time, to better understand a two foods that have shaped our culture and landscape here in Vermont. Sugar Maple trees have been here long before this place was ever called Vermont. This month we’re telling the story of the squirrel, who scratched their way into maple’s bark and licked the sweet sap that leaked out come spring. Then Abenaki people, indigenous to this area of Vermont, learned from the squirrel and collected sap by slicing open maple’s bark. European settlers were taught of maple’s gifts by the Abenaki, and the story has continued to change since then. European settlers happened to have brought a tasty companion to maple syrup: Apple trees. Newer to the landscape, but fitting quite nicely into the space that pasture farming left, orchards have shaped our fall traditions and our local doctor’s work load… 🙂
Our taste test uses UVM professor Amy Trubek’s research on Terroir: The Taste of Place to help us identify all the complex flavors present in different types of maple syrup.
For our apples, were tasting fresh Fortune apples from Larkin Orchards, donated generously to Farm to School for this lesson. We describe the tastes and mouthfeel: mushy, firm, juicy, sour… Then we co-create “An apple bite in slow motion” madlib story.
Finally, we taste warm, cinnamony applesauce… the perfect combination of the two! Here the recipe:
¾ cup Water
¼ cup Maple Syrup
2 tbsp Cinnamon
Cube apples. I leave the peels on, but you can remove them based on preference (skins do hold lots of the apple’s vitamins and some great fiber). Put apples and water into a pot. Set to boil. Add maple syrup and cinnamon. Mash with a potato masher or fork once apples are soft. Enjoy warm, or store in a jar in the refrigerator.
Farm to School Educator
Common Roots Inc