Spring brings maple syrup time

In the fall of the year, I like to write about the Native Americans and the many gifts they’ve given us, including corn, wild rice and the knowledge to use plants to cure many illnesses.

What we don’t think about is the fact that the Indians introduced us to maple syrup.

Although maple trees grow in Europe, Europeans were unaware of the potential uses of the sweet sap until the colonists learned how to tap the trees from Native Americans, who had long been using maple sap as a sugar source.

The Native Americans later traded what they called “sweetwater” with the colonists. After the 1764 Sugar Act imposing high tariffs on imported sugar, maple sweeteners became even more popular.

After the colonists learned how to tap maple trees, they soon realized the practice of slashing trees to retrieve the sap was not the ideal method. It not only resulted in a lot of waste, but it also damaged the trees. The use of taps, troughs and buckets followed and are still used today.

Maple syrup is only produced in North America since Europe does not have the proper weather conditions conducive to producing meaningful amounts of sap.

It is maple syrup time in Wisconsin and many farms have special events to show people how it is done and let them sample and buy the syrup that they work very hard every year to produce.

The Plymouth Maple Festival is being held again this year on Saturday, April 1 at City Park in Plymouth. The event is held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Drewry Farms, located at W5762 Winooski Rd. in Plymouth, is offering an all-you-can-eat breakfast of pancakes, maple syrup, sausages and a beverage for a reasonable cost at this event.

There will also be craft and food vendors.

Barb, of Drewry Farms, also welcomes you to tour and visit their farm where you can see maple syrup making in action.

To read more about this event go to plymouthmaplefestival.com


Barb also shared the following two recipes using maple syrup.

Maple Cheesecake

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 8 ounces whipped topping
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 pre-made graham cracker pie crust

Mix all ingredients together and pour into crust. Chill overnight.

Maple Oatmeal Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup packed, light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Combine first 6 ingredients in large bowl and stir to blend.

Whisk buttermilk, applesauce, maple syrup, brown sugar, vegetable oil, egg and vanilla in medium bowl until well blended. Add to dry ingredients and stir just to incorporate (do not overmix).

Divide batter equally among muffin cups (batter will reach top of cups). Bake until muffin tops are golden brown and tester inserted into center of muffins comes out clean, about 28 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack to cool.

The following recipe was sent to me by Carolyn, a reader of my column.

Grammies Eat All Week Oatmeal

Makes 5 containers

  • 1 cup oats, quick or old-fashioned
  • ½ cup grain cereal (Bob’s Red Mill 5 – 10 Grain Hot Cereal, etc.)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup milk (or part plain, honey walnut, or vanilla yogurt mixed with milk to make 1 cup)
  • Spices: 1 teaspoon each – cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, cloves, iodized salt
  • 1-1/2 to 2 grated apples or ½ cup mashed, cooked winter squash, pumpkin, acorn, butternut) OR 1 cup ground or finely diced dried fruit, such as apples, tropical, raisins, craisins, etc. (not banana), ground up with ½ cup walnuts or pecans.
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons nut butter, such as almond or cashew

Night before: (You don’t have to do the overnight step, but it softens the cereal to cook at about the same rate as the oats.) Mix cereals with spices, add water, cover, let soak overnight.

Next morning: grate apple with box grater (with a little peel taken off), or squash, add to pot with milk (large pieces of peel can be discarded or torn/cut up into cereal)

Cook on medium high until it boils and is thick. Cover and allow to stand semi-off heat (if electric stove) about 10 minutes.

Pour into 5 containers with covers and allow to cool to warm. Add ¼ tablespoon (more or less) butter and sweetener (brown sugar, real maple syrup, honey, sorghum with squash), cover and refrigerate.

To serve: Microwave for 2-1/2 minutes, serve with milk, or serve hot from pan after 10 minutes.

Enjoy the simple pleasures of life and, of course, eat well.

Call or email me with questions or comments. I can be reached at 920-980-3885 or email owl.mcp@gmail.com.

Send your favorite recipes to be included in this column to me at Tri-County News, P.O. Box 237, Kiel, WI 53042. Please include your name and phone number in the event I have questions.

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