Monday, April 14, 2008

Liquid Gold

Every year during this time, something magical happens! It hides in the forests throughout the winter, silently waiting. Finally, it's persuaded out with the cool nights and warmer days of the coming spring. This treasure has been around for centuries and once you've been taken over by its sweet, sweet powers, you never go back.

What's this powerful force you ask? Nope, it's not honey. This is liquid gold, better known as maple syrup :o)

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There's a legend that is told by the Native Americans about how maple syrup came to be. Late one winter day, Chief Woksis threw his tomahawk into a maple tree. The next day, a liquid (sap) was discovered dripping from the wound made by the tomahawk. The chief's wife used the sap liquid to cook their meat and that's when they discovered its sweet, delicious taste. From then on, the sap was used for various things and eventually it was discovered that if boiled down, it became syrup.

If you live anywhere near maple trees, then you can collect the sap :o) Gathering the sap begins the same way it always has. A 'v' shaped nozzle is hammered into the trunk of the maple tree, creating a tap. When the sap runs, it slowly pours out and drops into a bucket attached just below, to be collected later on. I have to warn you though; it takes A LOT of sap to end up with one bottle of syrup!

Now the method of gathering that sap 'has' changed over the years. People used to have to snowshoe from tree to tree. Their precious cargo was then dumped into a bucket, attached to a sled, and then taken back to the 'sugar shack' :o) This may have been done quite a few times in one day and was quite labour intensive. As the years went by, new methods came about and now some operations have a tubing system, allowing the sap to come to the shack by itself.

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Once the sap is collected, it is boiled to evaporate the water and in the end, turned into that sweet liquid gold :o) There are various maple syrup products as well. My grandfather used to buy a block of maple cream on a regular basis when it was in season. Its consistency is like that of fudge and it just melts in your mouth. They also make candies, as shown above. Check out the website for Acadian Maple Products to see what I'm talking about :o)

What can you put maple syrup on? Well...just about anything ;o) Traditionally it's used with pancakes or waffles but it's been known to find its way onto ice cream or into a batch of baked beans. There's a maple butter that can be spread on toast as well...

So the next time you fry up a batch of pancakes, grab a bottle of maple syrup to pour on top and see why it's considered liquid gold :o) Oh, and by the way, Aunt Jemima is NOT maple syrup!!!! LOL!

12 comments:

Faith Ann said...

I love, love, love maple syrup, maple butter, maple cream, maple sugar, maple candy, maple taffy, need I go on?

I'd rather eat pancakes plain that contaminate them with Aunt Jemima. That stuff is nasty!

Kendra said...

I know it's not exactly the same thing as fresh maple syrup, but I LOVE maple-flavored sausage. Actually, that's the only sausage I'll buy...I've eaten maple sausage so much that the plain stuff has a terrible taste!

Applebee's makes my most favorite dessert in the world - their Maple Butter Blondie. The Blondie and ice cream are good, but that maple butter is what really makes it heavenly...yum!

xstitch.nl said...

And here I thought maple only came in liquid form... LOL! Live and learn. I LOVE liquid gold on my pancakes, yum!

Karen said...

I love real Maple syrup the really good stuff goes real fast in the stores round here lol, the candies look nice

Lori-Ann said...

Maple Creme Candies for me!! and Maple fudge from the farmer's market. mmmmm.

Laural said...

Dear maple syrup: I love you.

When I was little my grandma would heat it up in a saucepan with peanut butter and make a topping for ice cream.

Rachel S said...

Cool. I have to admit, I am not a big fan of maple syrup. My parents love it, I like the sugar, just not the syrup. My grammy made maple icing on a spice cake that was wonderful.

'Berta said...

Cathey, we ration our stash of maple syrup! Isn't that sad? No sense in 'wasting; it on someone who doesn't appreciate the good stuff.

As a child, about once a month my Dad would make us eggs poached in maple syrup for a treat after church! Yum!

Nancy said...

Now I'm going to have to make some waffles & open our bottle of NH maple syrup! ;-)

~Tammy said...

Oh you evil evil woman! I love maple syrup but very seldom buy it since I've been known to take swigs right from the bottle. Think 'no self control' when in and around maple syrup.

Sharon said...

oh seeing those candies, what torture. They look so yummy. I love maple anything, too. I wish I had some maple fudge right now, or maple ice cream, now that would hit the spot.

leechbabe said...

Mmmmm I love Maple Syrup. Now I'm craving pancakes with peanut butter and maple syrup on top.