Gift shops, drug stores and grocery stores are stocked up and ready with display upon display of sweet Easter chocolate and candy. Meanwhile, it’s sap tapping season in Vermont. Our maple syrup enjoys international acclaim, and rightly so. Only the province of Quebec produces more maple syrup than Vermont.
Depending on sources, the quality is comparable, but the difference in volume is over 8 million gallons. Nevertheless, a trip to Great Britain a few years back revealed Brit friends’ preference. Upon inquiring about any preference for a gift from Vermont, the response was precise: maple syrup.
Together with Vermont, New York, Maine and New Hampshire are the four New England states responsible for the bulk of the maple syrup industry in the United States. North-Eastern Americans and Canadians learned the process of harvesting sap and transforming it into a palatable syrup from the native tribes, making maple syrup production one of the very few agricultural endeavors developed without importing European technology or knowledge.
The nutritional value of maple syrup is far from negligible. It contains as much calcium as milk. It is also a source of potassium, folic acid, niacin, B2, B5 and B6. It is a truly natural resource; one we have not compromised with additives or preservatives.
Maple syrup marketing is big business, but not always so straightforward as the golden elixir found in the classic jug or maple leaf shaped glass bottle. Between March and May, the word “Maple” appears on various products with the understanding that it is instinctively associated with “natural” and “wholesome.” Consumer beware.
Take maple coffee, for example. The aroma and taste are beyond satisfying, but chances are there is not one iota of maple sugar in the bag. Most coffee flavors are produced from a combination of 70 to 100 (sometimes more) synthetic compounds. To be fair, some roasteries use natural oils whenever possible, but most simply cannot justify the cost. The best way to get a truly satisfying and wholesome cup of maple coffee is to add the golden syrup directly to your cup.
Finally, in light of the current health concerns brought about by the coronavirus, here is a Sweet and Spicy Maple Tonic that is said to bring great benefits to the cold, flu or similarly afflicted person.
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 8 oz. water
- ¼ tsp Cayenne pepper
- 2 tbsp real maple syrup
Combine all ingredients. Stir well. Drink at once. Rinse mouth with water. It is potent… deliciously potent.
Sweet PS: 158 Main serves real Vermont maple syrup.