By Joseph Parish
Maple syrup is derived from sap of the maple tree. It is sweet tasting substance which is often eaten on pancakes, French toast, waffles, or cornbread. It may sometimes be used as ingredients in cooking or baking, candy making or for preparation of deserts. Surprisingly it is also occasionally used for flavoring in the manufacture of beer. Maple syrup was initially used by Native American who instructed the early settlers in its use.
Generally maple syrup is found in the northeastern portion of North America from the sugar maple trees or the black maple. These particular trees have high sugar content within their sap. To process the sap one would boil it in what was designated a "sugar house". This is a building that is louvered near the top to allow the steam to vent outside from the resulting boiled sap. In America the largest producer of maple syrup is the state of Vermont with 450000 gallons per year.
Traditionally, one would harvest maple syrup by tapping through the bark of the tree and letting the sap drip into a bucket. You would then collect the buckets of sap on a daily basis. Production would usually be during the months of February to April. With most maple trees freezing evenings plus warm days are required to induce the sap to flows.
The processing procedure is extremely slow due to the vast sum of water which must boil out of the sap. It takes about 40 liters of maple sap to create a single liter of maple syrup.
Maple syrup as well as maple sugar was prominently used during the Civil War and in the years just prior to the civil war due to the fact that most of the cane sugar or molasses was produced in the south by slaves. During World War II food rationing people located in the northeastern portion of America were generally encouraged to compliment their sugar rations with the use of maple syrup. Several War cookbooks can still be found that were printed to assist the American housewives to use this sugar alternative in their foods.
There are many maple flavored syrups which are imitations. Most of these syrups do not contain any maple syrup at all. In these syrups their primary ingredient is usually corn syrup that is flavored with something called sotolon. They are usually much thicker then the real maple syrup.
I would like to present my own version of non-maple syrup that could be used in emergency situations when no real syrup could be obtained. Below I have listed the recipe for this item.
6 medium potatoes
2 cups of water
1 cup of regular white sugar
1 cup of brown sugar
Boil the six medium, unpeeled potatoes in the water
Continue to boil until one cup of liquid is left
Removed the potatoes from the mixture
Continue stirring the liquid until you reach the boiling point once again
Add the white sugar
Add the brown sugar
Continue to boil until they have dissolved completely
Replace the pan on the stove
Store the mixture in a glass jar in a dark location for 1 week
Copyright @2008 Joseph Parish