Tag Archives: rhubarb

Maple Syrup Makes Me Swoon

As the frost melts, the sap starts running in sugar, black or red maple trees.  The sap is collected and boiled down to make syrup.  Forty to fifty gallons of sap are required to make one gallon of syrup.

Nutritionally maple syrup may profile similarly to sugar, but from a sociological perspective it is quite different.   Tapping maples trees, collecting and reducing the sap was a skill taught to early settlers by the Native Americans whereas the history of cane sugar production is steeped in the shame of utilizing African slaves.

White sugar has one note – sweeeeet, whereas maple syrup features a melody of flavors.   British culinary expert Delia Smith described maple syrup as “a unique ingredient, smooth and silky textured, with a sweet, distinctive flavour – hints of caramel with overtones of toffee will not do – and a rare colour, amber set alight. Maple flavour is, well, maple flavour, uniquely different from any other.”  The combination of butter and maple syrup makes me swoon.  How about you?

Non-organic sappers may use formaldehyde on the trees as this slows down the natural closing of the holes made to collect sap. Good organic maple syrup is quite expensive.  Organic maple syrup from small family farms can be even pricier.  The price puts the food in the proper perspective for a healthy diet.  Sugars of any kind should be kept at a minimum.

Quite right to focus on eating fresh greens in the spring, but it’s just as springy to bake strawberry and rhubarb with a crisp top made from oats, nuts, butter and maple syrup.  A warm-from-the-oven, tart, sweet delight.strawberry-rhubarb-crisp-bu1

Smack Dab In Season Sauce

Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce
Want to do something with those pretty bright pink stalks but maybe don’t have time to make a pie?  Try this.  Put this beautiful sweet tart sauce over Ben’s Friday Pancakes, plopped on your Steel Cut Oats, over warm poppyseed cake or cold ice cream.  rhubarb1

2 tablespoons sucanat
2 tablespoons water
1/4 pound (~3/4 cup chopped) rhubarb stalks, cleaned and diced
1 cup strawberries, cleaned, hulled and halved
1 teaspoon lemon juice

In a small saucepan, over medium heat, combine sucanat and water.  Stir to dissolve.  Add rhubarb and simmer for 15 minutes or until tender with the lid on.  Add strawberries and lemon juice and simmer 10 minutes more.  Allow mixture to cool for 10 minutes.

Puree in blender or mash with a potato masher for a more less-smooth texture.  Add a few drops of water if mixture appears too thick.

Prep time: 40 minutes
Makes  ¾  cup