Thursday, May 31, 2007

Maple Candy Making

The New England Maple Museum has scheduled a session on maple candy making from 10:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. Wednesday (27 June).

Visitors to the museum in Rutland, Vt., will also be able to sample the final product fresh from the mold.

For information, see the website or call 802:483-9414.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Vermont Maple Syrup Uses

Although the website claims they're uses for VERMONT maple syrup, we suspect that syrup from other locations is just fine!

Check it all out here.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Maple Syrup Fondue

Maple Syrup Fondue

One-half cup of maple syrup
2 cups of 15 percent light cream
2 teaspoons of corn starch
2 egg yolks

Heat the syrup for about five minutes. In a bowl, mix the corn starch with 2 teaspoons of cream. Heat the rest of the cream until boiling. Gradually add to the syrup. Mix with the eggs and the corn starch. Heat until it becomes thick.

Serve with fresh strawberries and other fresh fruits.

This recipe (and the photo, above left) is from Burlington Free Press, published there on 28 April 2007. The recipe is credited to Suzanne Rochette.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

March is Maple Syrup Time in Michigan

Yes, your Maple Syrup Maven knows its May already, but -- (which boasts that it's all Michigan all the time) has a great list of links about maple syrup making in the state here.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Maple may be a medical marvel

By Teresa Lake
Capital News Online
Vol. 20 No. 5
Mar. 30, 2007
A publication of Carleton University's School of Journalism

For most Canadians, the tapping of maple trees means spring festivals and sweet treats. But for Canadian scientists, the flowing maple sap means the source of green products made from biopolymers.

Complete article is here.

Friday, May 11, 2007

What you need to know about maple syrup

The real thing:

First, let's get straight what maple syrup is not. Maple syrup is not 'pancake syrup'. Pancake syrup is merely corn syrup flavored with artificial maple extract. Maple syrup is not 'maple-flavored syrup,' made usually from corn syrup, this time flavored with small amounts of pure maple syrup.

Real maple syrup is nothing more than the sap of the sugar maple, a tree found in a region stretching from New England up to Eastern Canada. Every spring, between March 1 and mid-April, a time when daytime temperatures rise into the 40s and nights remain cold and sap starts to run, trees throughout this region have been tapped. The extracted sap is then boiled down -- way down -- to burn off water and concentrate the sugars. The sap, which is about 3 percent sugar when it leaves the tree, cannot legally be sold as maple syrup until it has been concentrated to 66 percent sugar. It takes 40 gallons of sap to produce a single gallon of syrup. No wonder the real stuff is so pricey!

Syrup can be, and sometimes is, produced from other native trees: hickory, elm, sycamore, and birch, among them, as well as other maples. But the sugar maple reigns supreme, as its sap is both more plentiful and higher in sugar than any of its arboreal competitors.

Maple syrup is graded according to density, color and flavor. The grades have nothing to do with purity or sweetness. All maple syrups have the same sugar concentration. Grade A is considered table-grade syrup. You'll find it classed either as light amber, medium amber or dark amber. This is what you drizzle on pancakes, ice cream, oatmeal, etc. Grade B syrup generally comes from trees tapped later in the sugaring season, when the sugar content of the sap has fallen by about half and must be boiled longer and concentrated further. The result is darker, thicker syrup with a more intense maple flavor and distinct notes of caramel. Grade B is best reserved for cooking and baking.

SOURCE: Scripps Howard News Service

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Flipside of maple syrup as it wows gourmets

Down-at-home, reliable Canadian maple syrup is getting a modern make-over as it woos gourmet cooks in such recipes as Peking duck and creme brulee proving it's more than just a topping for plain pancakes.

Inspired by producers keen to shed old cliches and supported by restaurant owners, butchers and confectioners eager to find new culinary uses for the sticky treat are pioneering a new food trend.

Read more here.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Using Maple Syrup To Make Bioplastics

Researchers in Canada have discovered that maple syrup may aid in the production of bioplastic. It turns out that a form of bacteria called alcaligenes latus has a sweet tooth, and behaves particularly ravenously when exposed to maple sap and syrup. Researchers found that the bacteria not only thrive when added to maple syrup, but also transform the sugars in the sap into a family of natural polymers that can be used to make plastic-like materials that are biodegradable – everything from "green" food packaging to drug-delivery films that dissolve harmlessly in the body.

"We're not talking about plastic to replace the petroleum industry, we're talking about biopolymers with unique applications in the food and medical industry," says Jalal Hawari, a senior researcher at Canada's National Research Council.

The implications, he adds, are potentially enormous to an industry with vast potential for expansion and far more supply than it can sell.


Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Weather deals tough blow to maple syrup season

Hank Peterson of Londonderry shows samples of the grades of syrup produced at his sugar shack in Londonderry last year. ( staff file photo by Bob Hammerstrom)

Maple syrup production is almost wholly dependent on the weather, and the past season was not a particularly good one, reports

“It wasn’t terrible, but not good, either,” said Ben Fisk of Ben’s Sugar Shack in Temple.

He made about 770 gallons this year but should have made more.

“I should have made a thousand,” Fisk said. “It got too warm, and then it got too cold. It was just up and down too much.”

Maple producers throughout the state had varied results during the season, with the majority harvesting about two-thirds of an average crop, according to the New Hampshire Maple Producers Association.

Read more here.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Wisconsin ranks fourth in U.S.

According to Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources, the state ranked fourth in the nation as a producer of maple syrup in 2006, with 360 producers tapping sugar maple trees and boiling the sap down to produce 100,000 gallons of syrup, accounting for nearly 7 percent of national syrup production.

“Maple syrup production is a tradition in this area dating back for centuries, when Native Americans established sugar camps in the spring to tap trees,” says Derek Duane, director of the DNR's MacKenzie Environmental Education Center. “It is still very important to Wisconsin, which is reflected in the sugar maple being designated as the Wisconsin State Tree.”

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Bakers put maple syrup recipes to the test

Entries came from as far away as Chicago for the Wakarusa (Ind.) Maple Syrup Baking Contest held 21 April. Omar Hershberger (left) took first place in the cookie category. (Photo by Justin Cripe/Goshen News Staff Writer)

Recipes can be adapted to use maple syrup by using 1 1/2 cups pure maple syrup for each cup of granulated sugar and adding 1/4 teaspoon baking soda for each cup of maple syrup used. When maple syrup is substituted for all the sugar in a recipe, reduce the amount of liquid used by one-half. If maple syrup is substituted for half the sugar, reduce the liquid amounts by one-fourth.

Read all about it here.