Sweet Life

They say roses are red and violets are purple, sugar is sweet and so’s maple surple.  I’m number seven out of seven sons, my pappy was a pistol, I’m a son of a gun.

Dang me.

I’ve been singing that song for many days around the house.  We’ve been making maple syrup here in northern Michigan.  Yep.  Sap’s been running pretty good this year.  We have three big maples in the yard and from those few trees, we estimate we drained off 35+ gallons of sap which boiled down to…wait for it….just over one half of one gallon of sweet maple-ishessness.  That’s a lot of steamy work for such a meager reward.

Or, is it really all that meager?  In volume, mebbe.  But price wise, in Lehman’s catalog, one cup of pure maple syrup sells for $15!  On the other hand, downstate at a college town farmer’s market, an 8 oz. jar of  ‘organic’ maple syrup fetches but $5.  Ah, well…it’s only money.  That ‘organic’ qualifier cracks me up, by the way, although I s’pose a decades old tree could possibly be certified as such.  Organic has become such a fashionable selling point these days, I reckon attaching it to anything you can get away with works for the seller.  Buyer beware, though.  And remember what P.T. Barnum said.

How much our half gallon of syrup is worth is beside the point, really.  Making it was fun!  And tasty.  Yeah.  Maple syrup just tastes good.  I don’t particularly like it on pancakes, but a touch of maple frosting on top of a cinnamon bun still warm from the oven borders on the orgasmic.  Oooohoohooyeaaaah.

Can it possibly get better than that?

Why, yes, it can.

It turns out maple syrup has actual health benefits packed inside its sweet self!  It isn’t merely empty calories to be burned off with the Wii.  It’s good for you.

A year ago, University of Rhode Island researcher Navindra Seeram, found more than 20 compounds in maple syrup that were linked to human health, 13 of which were newly discovered at that time.  Some of the identified anti-oxidant compounds in maple syrup are also reported to have anti-cancer, anti-bacterial and anti-diabetic properties.

Seeram, who was named the 2009 Young Scientist of the Year by the American Chemical Society’s Division of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, said his goal is to educate the research community and the public about the many benefits of a variety of plant and berry foods, as well as natural products. His message is receiving widespread attention. Seeram had two of the Top Ten Most Accessed Articles in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in 2008.

And just released, 34 more beneficial compounds in maple syrup have been discovered by Seeram, bringing the total to 54.

“I can guarantee you that few, if any, other natural sweeteners have this anti-oxidant cocktail of beneficial compounds; it has some of the beneficial compounds that are found in berries, some that are found in tea and some that are found in flaxseed. People may not realize it, but while we have a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in our food chain, maple syrup is the single largest consumed food product that is entirely obtained from the sap of trees,” Seeram said.

I am aware that “Seeram’s research was supported by the Conseil pour le developpement de l’agriculture du Quebec (CDAQ) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) on behalf of the Canadian maple syrup industry”, which was probably why the phrase “pure maple syrup from Quebec” was prominently threaded throughout the articles, but really, who cares?  It’s syrup for crying out loud.

Oh, and from the sour grapes, poopy pants department.  Oh, noes!  Eating sugar will make you burn in every hell there is and twice on Sunday!  Bad, sugar eater!  Bad, bad, bad!  Doesn’t matter how cute you are, if you eat maple syrup frosting on a cinnamon bun still warm from the oven…..oooohoohooyeaaah…oh, fergit you treehugging killer of sugar buzzes.  I shall eat that mapley cinnamon bun, damn you!

After all, I can only live one life at a time and this time, I’m going out with a glazed look on my face.


8 thoughts on “Sweet Life

  1. cmaukonen

    I did that one year Flower. Tapped a bunch of trees on our property in Ohio and collected the sap in as many gallon jugs as I could get then boiled it down to a couple of quarts.

    I used these little plastic pipe fittings about 1/3 inch in diameter and hung plastic bags to catch the sap.

    The smell of maple sap boiling is just too good.

    The Village of Burton, in the township we lived in had a sugar bush in the town square and every year they tapped the trees and boiled it down in the cabin in the center. They used a wood fire for years but the last time I was up there had converted to gas. Seems the young folks did not want to gather the wood for the fire any more.

    You can buy the maple syrup there in the cabin store through spring.

    There was also across the street a locally owned soft server ice cream stand. The owners son was in my class in school. They had real maple flavored soft server ice cream.

    And the county seat in Chardon Ohio had a maple sugar festival every year. You could get maple stirs there. heated and cooked maple syrup that you could stir until you got the maple sugar candy the way you wanted it. Either sugary or creamy or anywhere in between.

    1. ~flowerchild~

      You know, we hadn’t planned on making syrup this year at all…the kids (who aren’t kids anymore) wanted to. So, we just used what we hand around the house…a hollow aluminum shaft of a broken arrow cut into proper lengths for taps, washed out milk jugs for collecting, and some string.

      We didn’t boil it down outside like usual, either. Just used the stove in the kitchen.

      There is one batch that got a little over done….I’m thinking of turning it into maple sugar candy.

      I saw your link at dag this morning, c. Clicked on it, thinking it might be about the same thing I was about to blog on. It was! But, my info came from a different source. Must have been a popular story today.

    1. ~flowerchild~

      I ain’t got 15 bucks either! Just syrup. 🙂 Next year, if the weather cooperates, mebbe we can make enough to be able to send some through the mail. We started a bit late this time, so production was less.

      And it was fun! Except for the part where I burned off the end of one of my braids by leaning too close to the stove. Now I’m a little lopsided. hahahahah

  2. larrytheh

    You’re killing me here. You know that don’t you? I love maple syrup but it costs more than good whiskey out West.

    Is there any difference in flavor or quality between syrup from your locale and the “Vermont” or “Canadian” products?

    Thanks for giving me another happy place to go after I read the news. I’ll just dream about owning a gallon of maple syrup.

    1. ~flowerchild~

      I, personally, cannot tell the difference between the syrups of the various locales. What I can tell the difference between is when the sap was tapped. Syrup boiled down from the first of the season has a darker color and richer flavor. Towards the end of the season, the syrup boils down to a lighter color. The taste is still good and sweet and mapley but just ain’t as purty. This is just my bias though.

    2. I cogitated on the same issue. hahahahahaha

      She is right though. I mean go to your discount grocery store and real Maple costs a bundle.

      Real Vanilla is a myth; I mean it all comes from the same trees for chrissakes.

      But Maple is Maple. ha!

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