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Savoring the Seasons: Maple season is coming!

By MARY MCCLINTOCK

When Winton Pitcoff wrote to me about the maple syrup recipe contest being run by the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association, I started thinking about tasty maple syrup recipes I’ve enjoyed. Soon after that, I looked at my pantry shelf and saw a jar of maple pickled beets made by Barbara and Eric Goodchild from Barberic Farm in Shelburne.

They’re a tasty twist on pickled beets that I really enjoy, along with other Barberic preserves I’ve bought at the Greenfield Winter Farmers Market. Hopefully, they’ll have more at the March 1 Greenfield Winter Farmers Market at Greenfield High School (10 a.m. to 1 p.m., contact greenfieldwintermarket@gmail.com).

Then, another maple beet recipe also came to mind. At the Barter Market at the 2009 Winter Fare Farmers’ Market, I learned about a deliciously different way to use maple syrup and beets. Molly Merrett from Northampton was bartering with a big plate of rich red-brown Beet Brownies. I laughed when I heard the luscious-looking brownies had beets in them, thinking even the most die-hard beet resister might be wooed by them.

They tasted great. I’m glad I had plenty of Butynski beets stored so I could try them out. The recipe is reprinted below.

Last week, the Rowe Conference Center spring-summer workshop catalog appeared in my mailbox and I was glad to see they have a number of food-related workshops. Visit http://rowecenter.org to learn about programs on honey (with Dan and Bonita Conlon of Warm Colors Apiary), making food staples, and mushrooms. Fermentation guru Sandor Ellix Katz is leading a fermentation workshop at Rowe on March 28-30. Don’t wait, these workshops will fill up fast!

The Sweet Spot: Maple Sugaring at Rowe, Friday, March 7 to Sunday, March 9, Rowe Conference Center, Rowe, MA. Tap Rowe’s maple trees, visit a sugarhouse, and discover how to make maple syrup. Build a simple evaporator, boil maple sap concentrate, enjoy field trips to area farms, and make delicious maple treats. Visit the Blue Heron Farm sugarhouse and sugarlot. For information and to register, visit:

http://rowecenter.org/events.php?event=250.

Think Beyond the Pancake: Maple Syrup Recipe Contest: During their annual March is Maple Month celebration, Massachusetts Maple Producers Association is holding a contest for recipes featuring 100% pure Massachusetts Maple Syrup and inviting anyone in Massachusetts to enter. Contest will be held at Williams Farm Sugarhouse in Deerfield, Tuesday, March 18, 7 p.m. Three categories: Main dish, Side dish, Dessert. Contestants must submit entries to info@massmaple.org or Mass Maple, PO Box 6, Plainfield, MA 01070 before Friday, March 14 at midnight. Submissions can be emailed to info@massmaple.org or mailed to Mass Maple, PO Box 6, Plainfield, MA 01070. For full contest rules, visit:

http://www.massmaple.org/contest2014.php

or contact MMPA coordinator Winton Pitcoff at winton@massmaple.org or 413-628-3912 with questions.

This week we’re eating ...

MAPLE BEET BROWNIES

By Molly Merrett, Northampton

1/2 C. butter

1 C. maple syrup

1 C. cocoa powder

2 C. flour

3 eggs

2-3 C. shredded beets

1 t. salt

1 t. baking soda

1 t. vanilla

1 C. chocolate chips or nuts or both!

Melt butter, combine with maple syrup, cocoa, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix well. Stir in shredded beets and chocolate chips or nuts. Pour into a 9x13 pan and bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees.

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