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Old 03-26-2020, 01:34 PM
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Maple sap! a nice refreshing beverage


The Mrs. and I began tapping a few of our maple trees a couple of years ago, to supply ourselves with a personal stock of maple syrup. it's been a fun hobby for the both of us, and makes us popular with friends and neighbors when we gift them with tiny bottles of our home made product.

But it was only just a couple of days ago that I decided to try the sap itself in an amount larger than the slightest taste. Standing over the stove ladling fresh sap into the boiling pot, I thought about getting something cold to drink. but right in the ladle before me was a scoop of sap fresh from the tree, still quite chilled. So down the hatch it went.

Damn, that was quite refreshing! Cold, clear water that was as tasty as any I'd ever had from spring or artesian well, plus a lovely faint hint of maple sweetness! I tossed off about 8 oz. of sap to slake my thirst.

A little research shows me that both fresh and pasteurized sap beverages have been popular in the past, and can even be obtained commercially in this modern era. A company called SAP! makes a variety of sparkling waters and sodas from maple and birch sap. Other places sell a noncarbonated sap product, while making a ton of dubious claims about the health benefits.

Personally, I just enjoyed the taste a lot. Low calorie, tree-purified, it's produced from the same water I grew up drinking as a child. Plus maple flavored, what a bonus!

Sadly the sap season is ending, and I do sort of prefer sending the sap to the boiler in order to obtain the delicious, delicious maple syrup for my groats, pancakes, waffles, brussel sprouts, and mahi-mahi (the Mrs. makes an amazing glaze for fish with chili powder and maple syrup!) but I do think I'll continue to divert a quart or two every sap season for hydration and sipping purposes.

Any other sap suckers out there?


ETA: whoops, meant to post in Cafe Society. I've notified the mods for a move

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Old 03-26-2020, 02:19 PM
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Growing up, birch tree sap was commonly available for sale by street vendors. As you say, it was clear and refreshing, a hint of viscosity and sweetness. Haven't thought about it in many years.
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Old 03-26-2020, 02:26 PM
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Growing up, birch tree sap was commonly available for sale by street vendors. As you say, it was clear and refreshing, a hint of viscosity and sweetness. Haven't thought about it in many years.
Where did you grow up, that they offered birch tree sap on the streets?

I've had birch syrup but not birch sap.
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Old 03-26-2020, 02:30 PM
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Straight from the evaporator, warm sap makes the most amazing cup of tea.
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Old 03-26-2020, 02:39 PM
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Any other sap suckers out there?
Oh, please tell me the whole story was not just a setup for this punchline
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Old 03-26-2020, 03:25 PM
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Where did you grow up, that they offered birch tree sap on the streets?

I've had birch syrup but not birch sap.
Back in the USSR. Didn't know how lucky I were.

It was sold as a "Birch juice" if translated directly from the mother tongue. I was a kid in my single digits. Too many years ago to care to count.
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Old 03-26-2020, 03:52 PM
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A couple years ago I started seeing this at Aldi. I love it, especially chilled after a workout. Not easy on the pocketbook, though. Link
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Old 03-26-2020, 03:54 PM
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ETA: whoops, meant to post in Cafe Society. I've notified the mods for a move
Moving from IMHO to Cafe Society.
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Old 03-26-2020, 03:59 PM
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I've never drunk a glass of sap, but I used to break little icicles off the maple trees and eat those. They were often frozen sap that dripped out of little cuts in the bark.

Now I want to try maple sap.
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Old 03-26-2020, 05:14 PM
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Oh, please tell me the whole story was not just a setup for this punchline
Actually not. I didn't think of that line until I was trying to figure out how to close my post.

Our maples gave us another 5 gallons of sap in the last day, so I do have a sufficient sap supply for sippin'!

And I would have spared you that, if not for your accusation.
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Old 03-26-2020, 05:20 PM
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A couple years ago I started seeing this at Aldi. I love it, especially chilled after a workout. Not easy on the pocketbook, though. Link
I bought some of this from Amazon (it was supposed to be available in grocery stores here, and no one had a clue what I was talking about.). It was very refreshing and mild.

I say this because when I was 12, I spent a summer on a family's little farm in Quebec, and they tapped their maple trees with spigots and tin buckets. I will never forget being offered a sip from the bucket of maple sap - vegetal, bland, yet a tang of maple flavor...I was blessed being able to visit that farm.
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Old 03-26-2020, 07:24 PM
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The little old French-Canadian lady who ran our church library would tell us stories about grabbing handfuls (handsful ?) of frozen sap from maple trees with tons of ants in it. She said it tasted like frozen lemonade. The first time she tried it her older brother had to tease her into it. She was little -- like five years old -- so based on her age when she told the story, this could have been before the turn of the 20th century.
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Old 03-26-2020, 08:01 PM
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I had fresh maple sap for my dinner beverage. A nice accompaniment. The rest of it is almost boiled down to syrup consistency now.

Groats, various yeast mites, 30 year old cheese, and now tree sap. My diet is getting more and more eclectic.
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Old 03-26-2020, 08:15 PM
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Yep. A friend in the burbs had a tree big enough to tap, and she gave me a cup right out of the tree. Pretty sure it was the coldest liquid I've ever consumed in my life. But it was sooooo delicious and refreshing. I may have waxed a bit poetical about it.

She sent me home with a quart mason jar full, and it was still delightful, but not quite as amazing as that cup right out of the tree.
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Old 03-26-2020, 08:25 PM
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Back in the USSR. Didn't know how lucky I were.

It was sold as a "Birch juice" if translated directly from the mother tongue. I was a kid in my single digits. Too many years ago to care to count.
I think you can still buy this in Russian supermarkets or aptekas, though I never have. I believe it's high in vitamin C, and is used to prevent scurvy.

Also back in the USSR, there used to be vending machines on the street where you could buy flavored soda water for two kopeks a glass. One of your choices was maple flavor.

The glass you drank from was actually made of glass. You were expected to rinse it out with a jet of fresh water when you were done and leave it for the next customer to use.
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Old 03-26-2020, 08:35 PM
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I once went on a sap-collecting tour in Wisconsin, where we were all able to sample fresh maple sap before it was boiled down into syrup.

Tree sap reflects the composition of the local soil. I was surprised that the fresh sap we sampled (not far from Milwaukee) had a distinctly metallic taste.

This might not be uncommon. Looking at a bottle of 100% pure Canadian maple syrup, I see it has a very high manganese content.
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Old 03-26-2020, 09:07 PM
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Sure, I sucked my share of sap.

We had a small syrup making operation when I was a lad.

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I do sort of prefer sending the sap to the boiler in order to obtain the delicious, delicious maple syrup for my groats, pancakes, waffles, brussel sprouts, and mahi-mahi
All good but my favorite was maple syrup on corn muffins.
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Old 03-26-2020, 09:40 PM
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Spruce beer is popular in Quebec but that’s not the same as sap.

Mix maple syrup 50-50 with cream and try that on your pancakes next time?
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Old 03-26-2020, 10:32 PM
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I've used maple sap for homebrew beer instead of water. I always love asking strangers at sugar shacks- "Hey, can I buy 5 gallons of sap?" "What are you gonna do with 5 gallons of syrup?"
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Old 03-27-2020, 01:36 AM
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Groats, various yeast mites, 30 year old cheese, and now tree sap. My diet is getting more and more eclectic.
Please don't tell us next that you're sampling raw bats, snakes, and pangolins.
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Old 03-27-2020, 08:30 AM
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I think you can still buy this in Russian supermarkets or aptekas, though I never have. I believe it's high in vitamin C, and is used to prevent scurvy.

Also back in the USSR, there used to be vending machines on the street where you could buy flavored soda water for two kopeks a glass. One of your choices was maple flavor.

The glass you drank from was actually made of glass. You were expected to rinse it out with a jet of fresh water when you were done and leave it for the next customer to use.
I was just thinking about that last night. I cringe at the thought remembering it. In light of corona virus, it's a wonder Russian society didn't collapse of some communicable disease back then.
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Old 03-27-2020, 08:43 AM
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I was just thinking about that last night. I cringe at the thought remembering it. In light of corona virus, it's a wonder Russian society didn't collapse of some communicable disease back then.
The dispensers were still around in 1989--90, when I was in Moscow as a grad student. I asked a Russian friend of mine if he wasn't worried about getting sick drinking from a communal glass, and he said with a grin "I have my own special way of doing it." Then he just drank from the glass while avoiding lip contact with the rim.

On an earlier visit (1975), I was told by our group chaperone (an American who should have known better) "The problem isn't with them, it's with us. We were raised with sterile stomachs." Yeah, right. Sorry, but my cultural empathy just doesn't extend that far.

The dispensers were, BTW, pretty much gone when I moved to Russia in 1992. By that time, bottled water being sold in kiosks everywhere.
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Old 03-28-2020, 12:24 PM
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Took access to maple sap for granted until the family sugar shack became a suburban development forty years ago. A bit off topic, but if you'll indulge it, besides a tasty drink do you think there might be any undiscovered health benefits for maple and also birch water? Your newfound hobby is an entrenched ritual with more than a few oldsters I talk to, and they don't seem to be making any wild claims as a possible business, or any scientific claims either. Their health anecdotes come across as "just something you should also do" giving me the uneasy feeling I'm not trying hard enough to do this every spring.
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Old 03-28-2020, 03:38 PM
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Not the least bit convinced of going over to the dark side of maple syrup consumption, especially when Vasek Pospisil takes shots between games, or Donovan Bennet is just being plain gross, or Raptor Norm Powell's getting wimpy with it.
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Old 03-29-2020, 12:25 AM
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Not the least bit convinced of going over to the dark side of maple syrup consumption...
Maybe you're doing it all wrong. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9u6gdwQPD8
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Old 03-29-2020, 09:06 AM
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do you think there might be any undiscovered health benefits for maple and also birch water?
I think drinking maple or birch water is much healthier than drinking sweetened commercial sodas or other significantly sweetened beverages. And it's also much healthier than drinking alcohol. It's definitely better for you than drinking an equivalent amount of maple syrup!

I seriously doubt it is superior to drinking water if someone is eating an adequate diet. It's got about 20 calories per 8 oz. serving, 45 mg of sodium, 15 mg of potassium, and very very small traces of other minerals and nutrients. Mineral content will depend on the soil the tree is growing in, frankly.
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Old 03-29-2020, 11:54 AM
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Mineral content will depend on the soil the tree is growing in, frankly.
As noted above.
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Old 03-29-2020, 12:07 PM
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If I interpret the weather reports right, this spring was/is nearly ideal weather for maple sap collection -- cold nights (below freezing) and warm days (above). Has that been the case?
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Old 03-29-2020, 03:03 PM
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Not that ranch dressing is much of an improvement, perhaps.
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Old 03-30-2020, 07:01 AM
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As noted above.
Which knowledge I did learn from you, then forgot to cite you as my source. Sorry, my mind is a bit more jumbled lately.
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Old 03-30-2020, 07:06 AM
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If I interpret the weather reports right, this spring was/is nearly ideal weather for maple sap collection -- cold nights (below freezing) and warm days (above). Has that been the case?
We've gotten a lot of product this season for sure, just using essentially two trees. So much that we got sick of making maple syrup and pulled the taps yesterday, after hearing we'd not go below freezing for the foreseeable future, and haven't for nearly a week. We got at least 35 gallons of sap, and have over 3/4 a gallon of syrup, which is pretty good for a stovetop operation. I am NOT building a sugar shack!

It's been a nice diversion from work, though. Nice and mindless. We're saving some sap to serve at some future Wisconsin themed dinner party. 11 year old cheddar, wild rice, cherry rhubarb pie with maple syrup glaze will be among the ingredients.
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Old 03-30-2020, 07:57 AM
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Which knowledge I did learn from you, then forgot to cite you as my source. Sorry, my mind is a bit more jumbled lately.
No problemo!
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Old 03-30-2020, 09:54 AM
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A related beverage: raw sugarcane juice.

In regions where sugarcane grows, people will often skin the stalks and chew on them--a tasty treat.
Better still, the farmer will always have a rusty old hand-cranked gear press to squeeze the juice out of the stalks. Part of the process is watching him splash a little water on the tetanus-laden rust contraption, but that is just for show--similar to how one gives a light wire-brushing to the bar-b-cue before grilling steaks to satisfy onlookers.

Then he starts shoving in stalks that have been chopped with a machete (what else?) and turning the crank. A substance that resembles dishwater pours out into whatever container has been provided.

Add ice, and it's a delicious summer treat.
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Old 03-30-2020, 10:32 AM
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A true story.

As I noted above, we tapped trees and made syrup when I was young. Some relatives visited us from out of town and were highly impressed. So when they got home, they decided to tap a tree and make their own. But they found that they weren't getting any sap.

So the next time we visited them, they asked my father to look over what they were doing and see if he could help them. He checked and then told them, "There can be a lot of reasons why you're not getting sap. It could be the location of the tree. It could be the location of the tap. It could be the weather. It could be the health of the tree." Then he paused. "But your problem is you tapped an oak tree."

Last edited by Little Nemo; 03-30-2020 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 03-30-2020, 10:33 AM
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A related beverage: raw sugarcane juice.
. . .
Add ice, and it's a delicious summer treat.
Yeah, I got offered waaaay too much of that stuff in Costa Rica this January past as we toured the countryside. Seeming a lot like sweetened dishwater, it lost its appeal quickly, tho it was interesting seeing how they processed it in the early days.
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Old 03-30-2020, 10:35 AM
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"But your problem is you tapped an oak tree."
<<snerk>>

thanks for sharing that, I smiled. And that takes a bit, these days.
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Old Yesterday, 12:18 PM
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A couple years ago I started seeing this at Aldi. I love it, especially chilled after a workout. Not easy on the pocketbook, though. Link
Ran across this at Trader Joe's as well. Since syrup was an old family cash crop, I researched it a bit.

Turns out that Maple Water is not quite raw sap from the tree. Modern syrup production avoids boiling as the sole concentration step. Now, reverse osmosis is used to remove water from the sap, concentrating the sugar before boiling off the rest of the water.

Maple water is the output from the osmosis step and has less sugar etc. than the sap.
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Old Yesterday, 01:53 PM
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Maple water is the output from the osmosis step and has less sugar etc. than the sap.
Thanks for that factoid. I appreciate knowing that.
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Old Yesterday, 03:02 PM
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Ran across this at Trader Joe's as well. Since syrup was an old family cash crop, I researched it a bit.

Turns out that Maple Water is not quite raw sap from the tree. Modern syrup production avoids boiling as the sole concentration step. Now, reverse osmosis is used to remove water from the sap, concentrating the sugar before boiling off the rest of the water.

Maple water is the output from the osmosis step and has less sugar etc. than the sap.
Yeah, interesting to know, and kind of cool that they are able to salvage a waste product like that.
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