While this winter has been disappointing for cross-country skiers, plow guys and all manner of winter wonderland lovers, the arrival of sugaring season is still a welcome treat. Despite projections of possibly scant syrup yields (also due to a mild winter), we’ve hung buckets, and set the first pot of sap on the stove to simmer… patiently, anticipating syrup.
Thanks to the SodaStream, a fabulous hand-operated appliance, it is very easy to make your own seltzer. Drinking sparkling tap water is fun, economical and refreshing all year round, but nothing quite compares to homemade maple sap soda during sugaring season.
A Simple How-To:
1. Tap a maple tree sometime in late winter/early spring when the daytime temperatures creep above freezing while the nighttime temps scoot back down below.
2. Patiently collect a bucket full of sap, drop by drop.
3. Pour sap through a strainer into a large soup pot and place on (wood)stove with several slices of fresh ginger, and allow to gently simmer until the sap has become infused with ginger flavor.
5. Add a slice of lemon, if you like, and raise a glass to the first signs of spring: Maple Sap Soda!
Or, make your own maple sap with a little reverse evaporation. The commonly used ratio of sap to syrup is 40:1, meaning that 40 units of maple sap need to be boiled down to create 1 unit of maple syrup. If you don’t have access to a sugar maple tree to tap, go ahead and rehydrate some maple syrup with 30-40 parts water to 1 part syrup, blend in a large pot, place on stove with several slices of fresh ginger. Allow to simmer until the sap becomes infused with ginger flavor, and/or until your home is infused with a warm, gingery maple aroma.