We have just completed the third year of Convivium’s Community Mapling project. This is one of many projects that we do here at Convivium truly captures the essence of our mission — to create community around food.
Each January we put out a call to our Facebook and email list followers for families in the city limits of Dubuque who have a maple tree in their yard. Then in late February, my husband Mike and I visit those individuals and drill taps into their trees.
The families are then asked to bring us the sap that runs from the tree. The sap will begin running when temperatures dip below freezing at night and above freezing during the day. When it comes out, honestly, well, it looks like water. And basically, it is water. That is why it takes about 40 gallons of maple sap to make only one gallon of maple syrup.
That process is done by boiling…and boiling and boiling. It takes a long time to evaporate all of the water. But it is that boiling process that eventually produces the lovely golden-brown syrup that we are familiar with.
This year we produced about 2 gallons of syrup from 90 gallons of donated sap from the maple trees throughout our community. How amazing is that?
Typically, we hold a pancake breakfast in late April to celebrate all of this and of course, to sample the delicious syrup. We’ve had to put that on hold this year because of COVID-19, but the syrup will keep and we will be celebrating the harvest as soon as we can.
Real maple syrup is a staple ingredient in our house Maple Balsamic Salad dressing, which we use on salads as well as a sauce to roast vegetables in for of Maple Balsamic Roasted Vegetables on our menu.
Below is both the dressing recipe and instructions for roasting vegetables. Enjoy!
Maple Balsamic Dressing
1-1/2 c olive oil
1 c balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp Kosher salt
¼ c. pure maple syrup
In a bowl, combine vinegar, mustard, salt and maple syrup. Whisk to combine, then slowly drizzle in olive oil while continuing to whisk. Whisk until fully combined.
Roasted Balsamic Vegetables
4 c. roasting vegetables – cut into 1” chunks (zucchini, mushrooms, onion, cauliflower, carrots, broccoli)
¼ to ½ c Maple Balsamic Dressing
salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 450. In a medium bowl, toss vegetables with dressing, salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray Roast for 15 minutes, turning and stirring once half-way through roasting time.