Thursday, February 16, 2012

Maple, My Sweet

Oh no! I ran out of maple syrup! Good thing we were going to the town where our friends, the Bakers have their maple shop.  They have won about a gazillion awards for the quality of their syrup and other maple products they make.  I got a half gallon. It’s a lot, but it will last a year and when I buy this much then I feel I can use it in recipes. While I was checking out all their offerings, I spotted some maple herbal tea. Fortunately, they had samples all nicely packaged up, so I got one. I am doing this for you dear fellow tea journeymen, as I am sure it will be really sweet.

Yes this is sweet, but not nearly as sweet as I thought it would be. The sweetness is offset by the rooibos base and by the addition of calendula and chamomile. If you like maple, this would be something you’d probably like. I brewed it with boiling water for 5 minutes and I thought that was about right. If you don’t need a wake-up in the morning, I could easily see this as a pleasant breakfast experience. If you can’t get to our regional Maple Weekend, you can purchase the tea from  You can also order lots of other maple products and pancake mixes.

It’s so odd, I love sweet things and love maple sugar that comes in those little leaf-shaped “candies”, but I don’t like sugar in either coffee or tea, although I do make an exception for espresso and put a half teaspoon in it, if there is no anisette or lemon peel. Maple sugar can only be eaten in very small quantities, it is just too sweet.  We used to have it poured over clean snow - definitely yumm-o.  Did you know it takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup?  No wonder it is so expensive. The sugar bush people don’t expect this to be a good year, with no snow and such warm weather, although I have seen some lines out.

It is time to start my tomato seeds. First thing tomorrow I have to go get seed starting soil and some basil seeds, as well. This year I am going to try to cross my favorite tomatoes, whose seed I have saved for 30 years, with some really prolific cherry tomatoes and see if I can breed mine to produce more. I’ve already bred them for size and flavor and feel quite spiffy about it.  I have some herb seeds I will plant for adding to tea or just having on their own.

Through the Tea Reaview Blog Tea Swap I received some teas from Croatia, as well as some thyme my swap partner drinks for tea.  I hadn't thought about using thyme this way, so I am eager to try it - I'll let you know how it is.

One of the many German castles overlooking the Rhine river, now restored as a guest house.  Can you imagine having tea on the terrace there?  Beautiful!

1 comment:

Alex Zorach said...

I also love maple syrup.

It's interesting, there was someone on the radio, on NPR, talking about how sugar is so bad for you, and someone called in and asked: "Is honey any better?"

And the answer he gave was interesting...he said, honey is still sugar, but because honey is so intensely aromatic and has a distinctive fragrance, and also because it is more expensive, people tend to be satisfied using much less of it, so if you leave people up to their devices, people will consume much less total sugar if using sugar.

I'd imagine maple syrup would be similar! It's very intense and I don't think I need as much of it on something as I do of the thin, sugary sweeteners.

As a side note, if you really like the maple aroma, and want to replicate it in some sort of herbal blend that is not sweet, you can substitute fenugreek. I never realized that but after I read that somewhere, and went back and smelled fenugreek, I realized, it really does smell a lot like maple.