America is falling in love with Maple Syrup. Well, it’s not actually a new thing, we have been using it for years on our pancakes and waffles, but we are now finding different uses for it. They have been making maple syrup cookies forever as well, Canada has even used the maple tree leaf to indicate their country! Now we use maple syrup for a number of things people may not commonly recognize. It is a sweetener and so anything you want sweeter than in it’s normal state. An ice cream topper, as sugar for cereal, it all sorts of candy and just about anything you an imagine. If you haven’t tried it, you should. It is healthier and frankly even sweeter.
How to celebrate – Stock up on Maple Syrup. Try maple syrup on things you might normally add sugar to. Visit Canada.
Here’s another sweet day for you, it’s National Maple Syrup Day! Just like yesterdays chocolate, maple syrup was first used by the Native Americans and became a part of their diet. I am not sure who, or why, somebody started licking a tree but I am glad they did… I love maple syrup!
Of course the process is a little more involved than just licking a tree but I wonder, did they lick a Elm tree, Oak tree or Ash tree before stopping at the maple tree and going, “This is the one. This is the tree to lick!”
Even more interesting, that we should celebrate this day in December when the typical harvesting of maple syrup comes in February and March. Guess we just couldn’t wait! I think that may be expressed even more in the fact that we can find nearly everything we eat of drink can be flavored with maple syrup.
What started out as pan cake syrup now flavors our bacon, coffee, ice tea and… well, nearly everything we eat. Since yesterday was National Chocolate Covered Anything Day I wonder if we can cover maple syrup in chocolate. Maybe that’s a bit over sweet!
And now we have maple flavored martinis. Wow, that ought to be tasty! Naturally we have made it less and less healthy over the years, adding sugar and who knows else to make it even sweeter than it is naturally. And we wonder why we are an over-weight society. Go figure.
How to celebrate – Have some maple syrup today! Try natural maple syrup over processed maple syrup. Try blending maple syrup into something new and different.
Very few of us actually have ever tasted real maple syrup. Now I know, all those pancake syrups list themselves as maple syrup and some, the better of them, actually taste like real maple syrup but few are actually made from maple syrup.
Native Americans have been using maple syrup since long before the European settlers came across the ocean. They flavored many of their meals with the sap of the maple tree. The process is time consuming and not effective for companies that place quantity over quality.
The sap is gathered from the trees between Feb. and March so it is a bit curious why Maple Syrup Day is celebrated in December. It’s sort of like celebrating the 4th of July in April but I guess it really doesn’t matter so long as it gets celebrated.
Still, real or not and whether in the right month or not, Maple Syrup Day is a treasure for anyone actually wanting to eat the real thing! We all know it tastes great on pancakes or waffles but try it on ice cream or cookies or even in a cake, not the fake stuff but the real stuff.
How to celebrate – Find some “real” Maple Syrup. Try adding the syrup to chicken or in tea or on practically any food you serve. Try getting you own sap from a Maple Tree and learn how to turn it into Maple Syrup.
Indian Pudding was very popular in early America, falling out of favor in the 1900’s due to the time required to cook it. It had been, and still is, a cold weather treat normally served in the New England states.
The original colonists brought the idea of pudding with them from Europe but the recipes there called for wheat which was not easily found in the new colonies. Learning how to grow, and use corn, the colonists used cornmeal instead of wheat and created a new dessert which they called Indian Pudding in honor of their new friends.
It is generally made with cornmeal and molasses or maple syrup, ginger, butter, eggs, raisins, and nuts. Recipes were readily available in most cook books until the 19th century. For a more traditional taste, here’s a recipe for you to try.
Or you can buy it in a can, but I’ll bet the home made version is better. Though it has become a lesser known dessert, those who did try and improve it made it creamier in the 20th century. Pending on how you make it, or buy it, you may want to add vanilla ice cream, or whipped cream to the pudding. Most recipes call for a thicker version which is a little more cake like than like a normal pudding.
Of course you can add anything you like to it. Cherries, apples, and any berries add a kick to the already sweet dessert.
How to celebrate – Try making your own Indian Pudding for the holidays, it would go great with a more traditional Thanksgiving meal! Go to New England where the dessert is making a little bit of a comeback and sample what they make. Serve it at Thanksgiving but don’t tell anybody what it is, see if they can guess.