on November 19, 2012 at 10:00 am
So you think you know Maple?
Maybe you do.
Maybe you know that sometimes she is a tree, but other times a shrub and/or that usually she is deciduous; but occasionally she is evergreen. And maybe you are familiar with her distinctive shape and brilliant (fall) coloring.
But did you know she is sappy?
Well, she is. (At least she is for about 3-6 weeks each year before her first bud appears.)
When the temperature drops below freezing at night and rises above freezing the following day, her sap starts to run.
But when Maple gets all sappy, she is not in need of a kleenex, a better long-distance plan, or an adjustment to her meds. (That is you. Don’t project.)
Instead when these favorable conditions arise, it is time to tap her trunk and collect her sap.
But if you stop there, you will not have a very favorable impression of Maple. Her sap is colorless; has a very low sugar content; is 98% water; and practically tasteless. (In short, it is not much to write home about.)
In order to coax out its delicious sweetness, you need to boil the sap until the water evaporates. The resulting liquid, more commonly known as maple syrup, is sweet (at least 66% sugar), rich and full of beneficial nutrients like calcium, iron and thiamin. Maple syrup also has no fat or cholesterol and is low in sodium.
This sweet elixir can be transformed into anything from sugar to liqueur and can be added to anything from cookies to cucumbers.
Maple Wafers ($16.99) by Tonewood
Made in Waitsfield, Vermont
Package contains 8 wafers. Crafted from pure maple sugar, these creamy bars slowly dissolve in the mouth with a sweet burst of flavor. Surprising, sophisticated, and worth savoring. Tonewood also makes 4 grades of maple syrup, maple flakes, maple cubes, maple cream and maple seasoning. All products are single-sourced, unblended, and free of additives.