Maple Syrup Season
Last years maple syrup production was a rollercoaster. The first sap flow started in February, and it stopped and started multiple times due to the variable weather. In mid-April, some of the taps were frozen. Near the end of April the maple leaf buds started to swell and the season was finally done. The weather and sap flow may be unpredictable, but the taste of our favorite maple syrup recipes is predictably delicious! We are dreaming of maple syrup and these recipes as we start to plan for this years maple syrup marathon. Click on this preparing for the maple harvest link for our previous post about gathering the right equipment for tapping the trees.
Maple Syrup Recipes
We use our maple syrup in place of sugar in pretty much any recipe. Maple syrup goes on our oatmeal or rice for breakfast. We bake with maple syrup in our breads, cakes and muffins. Maple syrup is pretty much our sweetener of choice. But there are a few recipes that are maple syrup specific. Maple candy is only made with pure maple syrup, and I would never make a “sugar-glazed” venison. We hope you will enjoy these maple recipes as much as we do.
- 2 cups Pure maple syrup (fresh from your own trees)
- candy thermometer
- candy molds
In a large heavy bottomed pan bring maple syrup to a boil over medium high heat stirring occasionally. Boil until syrup reaches 235 F
Remove from heat and cool to 175 F without stirring.
Stir rapidly for about 5 minutes until color turns lighter and the mixture becomes thick and creamy.
Pour into candy molds and set aside to cool. Once cool remove candy from the molds and store in an air tight container.
Sometimes it is helpful to lightly grease the candy molds for easy removal of the maple candy. These melt in your mouth candies are pure creamy maple sugar. They can be a little difficult to make because of the specific temperatures required, but once successful they are sure to become a family tradition.
- 2-3 pounds Venison steak
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 3 Tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
Sear meat on a cast iron pan to seal in the juices.
Add all ingredients to slow cooker or pressure cooker making sure that liquid ingredients are enough to cover the meat so that the venison does not dry while cooking.
For slow cooker, set temp to low for 8 hours or high for 5-6 hours.
For pressure cooker, set to meat setting on a modern cooker which should be for about 1 hour.
Enjoy this tender sweet meat with your favorite vegetable side dish.
We like to eat our "Maple meat" with sweet potatoes and asparagus or artichokes. This recipe could easily be used with beef, duck, lamb or chicken in place of venison. To cook on a cast iron pan, you may want to allow the meat to marinate before cooking and then add the extra juices to the pan to reduce and caramelize once the meat is adequately cooked.
The kids like to drink the sap. Before it is ever boiled down at all is has a nice sweet taste. We even tried to make our own maple sap soda by adding some carbonation to some of the fresh sap that we had gathered from the trees. After trying this we learned that we were not the first to think of this and drinking the maple water is becoming quite popular in some circles. Whether you want to consider it a health drink or just another beverage option, I will leave no opinion on the matter. Here is an article that talks more about drinking maple sap.
How much syrup this year?
We ran out of our 2017 syrup in February. That year we made 3.5 gallons of syrup from 5 taps on 2 trees. Last year we had 16 taps out, and collected enough sap for 7-10 gallons of syrup. Unfortunately, some of the sap went bad before we could get it boiled down. We just couldn’t boil it down fast enough, so it sat in 5 gallon buckets buried halfway up in snow for quite a while. Once the weather warmed up, some of the sap got a little too warm and started to sour. Sad that the sap was wasted, we decided to purchase better evaporation equipment for this year. We got closer to 6 gallons of syrup last year, and enjoyed a lot of taste testing along the way.
The 2019 syrup season has just started for us! Last year the season was long, it looks like this year it may only last one week. We are looking forward to this years tapping adventures. And, if it looks like we won’t be able to boil it all down, we may join the trend and just drink the sap. Stay tuned for this years syrup making adventures!
We would love to hear of your syrup recipes and tapping adventures. Please share in the comments section.