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alternative to maple syrup  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
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I'm trying to eat only organic these days and real maple syrup costs a small fortune.

I remember making syrup out of something called "mapeline" (sp?) - but what is that stuff? I tried to google, but I keep getting recipes for how to make syrup.

I wonder about alternatives to maple syrup that I might be able to make the same way: sugar, water and .... flavoring. Vanilla?

Any ideas?
 
Marilyn Queiroz
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maple extract?
 
                    
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You can always tap trees yourself and get what they call maple sap to eat, drink and cook with.  It is just what it says...maple sap.  You can make tea with it, cook with it and use it for tonics and such.  You do have to wait for winter so you don't harm the trees but then you can tap them and even put some up for later use.
 
                    
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Hi
Just curious, did you ever find Mapeline anywhere?
Jim
 
paul wheaton
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Found mapleine.  Also found "natural maple flavor" (not sure what it's made of).

Also tried something I found somewhere else where organic sugar is mixed with water and lots of cinnamon.  Good!  And cheap!
 
                    
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Its called Cheater Pancake syrup!
Go to this website, recipes.allrecipes.com and type in cheater pancake syrup!
 
John Meshna
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Ya know... If you consider how much Maple Syrup you actually use at a sitting, it really doesn't cost that much, especially if you compare it to the cost of a cup of codde at the store and all those drinks people buy out of the cooler in little bottles and cartons or the cost of chips and things like that we buy all the time.  It's all about perspective.
  Is 50 cents too much to spend on a healthy breakfast?  For most people, a gallon is a lot of maple syrup and lasts for months in the kitchen.  Buy the real stuff.  Support a farmer and make the wortld a better place.  It's easy and good for you too!

 
                                    
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Not only is maple syrup - the real thing, especially - good on pancakes, but it also enhances the flavor of a cup of coffee if you generally stir in some sugar.  Whenever I get to have breakfast at a Cracker Barrel I ask for an extra couple of the little bottles of syrup they serve.  Just the right size for two cups of java.
At home, when I can't get to the store to pick up the real stuff, I make artificial syrup from my own recipe which is similar to the ones here.
Birch syrup isn't bad either, although less flavorful than maple.  But all I have now are black spruce trees and they don't produce anything but firewood!
 
Heidi Bohan
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I'm brand new, so hi! Couple of thoughts on the maple syrup:

I agree that buying it bulk and using in small quantities is worth it (Trader Joe and dare I say Costco have good prices on organic, though I'm not sure how it wouldn't be organic anyway), I love mine on pancakes mixed with yogurt;

a friend of mine moved to Minnesota and she sent me maple syrup she made herself which was incredible, and they use it there as their only sweetener, so maybe make a friend in Minnesota?;

maple syrup can be extracted from our bigleaf maple trees here, and I think this time of year might even be a good time for it, though I hear it's pretty thin and weak. I have a bunch of bigleaf maple on my property out here in Duvall if any of you want to experiment... I think it's pretty easy, just have to be patient. I might try anyway now and see what happens.
 
                    
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Had to attach this to maple syrup thread: simple and free if you live in the right cold zone.

From his boyhood in Vermont, Brown, now a natural resources agent at the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Ithaca, recalls the sweet taste of boiling maple syrup on soft, fresh snow.
  The maple sap, when boiled, turns into thick syrup. When poured on fresh snow, it becomes a taffy that can be scooped by hand or with a fork. This syrup-snow taffy is called "jack wax."
  Maple syrup doesn't work very well with ice, Brown said. Packed snow is best for these sweet patties. Brown likes to pack soft, fresh snow into a bucket and then drizzle down the hot, thick syrup.
  "It was a tradition in Vermont," Brown said. "We ate it with dill pickles and doughnuts."
  Brown said he enjoys the queer combo. The sweet and sour tastes complement each other, he said.
  "I always joke about it," he said, "that it was probably our earliest exposure to something similar to Chinese food."
  The maple syrup and snow mix is an age-old tradition. Even before Europeans came to North America, Iroquois, Abenaki and other Native Americans who maintained "sugar bushes" poured maple syrup on snow to make their own snow candy.
  Traditionally, this treat was the feature of the "sugaring off" party held at the sugar house to celebrate the end of the syrup harvest, said Karl Wiles, owner of the Cedarvale Maple Syrup Company on Pleasant Valley Road.
  "People just enjoy it," Wiles said. "I haven't seen anybody who has health concerns about eating snow."
  Cedarvale has its own official recipe for jack wax. Heat maple syrup to 230 degrees. While hot, pour on snow or crushed ice and eat, preferably with your fingers.
 
rachael hamblin
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What is the process for tapping a tree for sap? 

Also, does anyone know how to make sweeteners from fruit?  Maybe apples?
 
paul wheaton
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That's probably two new threads.  Or ...  I think somewhere around here I made a thread that is riddled with youtube videos of tapping maple trees.  That might be of help.    And as for the apple stuff, I have heard of people making apple syrup and I think I remember someone taking it a step further to make apple sugar.  But my memory is quite foggy.
 
rachael hamblin
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Alright, new thread time it is .
 
                                  
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You could try making shagbark hickory syrup, if you have hickory trees, of course.  You use the bark of dead trees without tapping the sap from the tree.

http://www.hickoryworks.com/

 
                          
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An alternative to maple syrup was, coincidentally, posted this morning on another forum I participate in.  No "real" ingredients in it, but pretty much what we all have on hand in our pantries, so in absence of the "real thing," it should work.

I haven't tried it yet myself, but the person who posted it is usually pretty reliable with the quality of the recipes she posts.



Yield 2 cups

Ingredients

* 1 cup sugar
* 1 cup brown sugar
* 1 cup corn syrup
* 1 cup water
* 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

1.Boil together and cook gently for 3 minutes.
2. Bottle and store in refrigerator.

Some say add a tablespoon of butter once you take it off the heat, and there's the caveat to make sure your pan is big enough, because it bubbles up. It's thin when hot, but thickens as it cools.

If you have maple flavoring, throw some of that in. I used a tablespoon of vanilla because we like vanilla, but a teaspoon would have been enough. Some put some spices in, too. Play around with it and enjoy!



Cinebar
 
Leah Sattler
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My mom used to make syrup for us when we were kids if we didn't have the real thing in the house. It was probably a recipe similiar to that! it wasnt' too bad.
 
                          
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For a healthier version of maple syrup analog and to make your expensive syrup last longer:

1 part Grade B Maple syrup
3 parts Sucanat (unrefined cane juice), or brown sugar
1 part water

Boil briefly and bottle

Grade B maple syrup is cheaper and has more flavor so it could be used in a dilute form and still have pleanty of flavor (this is usually what you pay for at the stores anyway)  Try to avoid Corn syrup altogether...its highly processed, unhealthy form of sugar, nutritionally devoid and supports an unhealthy industry of corn.

If you are interested in trying some exotic items, I've had a coconut sugar syrup that tastes just like Grade A maple syrup. I suppose you could just get coconut sugar chunks and simmer it with water to make a syrup. (find this in Asian markets)

Sweet dreams...
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Other syrups are good on pancakes, as well.

Lavender, ginger, lemon rind, rose petal...

You can leave fresh flavorings in jars of sugar and make syrup from that, or boil things in the syrup to extract.  A thick enough syrup will leave you with candied X, great for cake decoration.

This kind of syrup would also be a good starting place for home-made soda, of course.  A couple grains of active dry yeast works for me, but do be careful not to let it explode, and of course there's the lacto-fermentation way.
 
Robert Ray
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I make a fruit ginger syrup. My mom likes crystalized ginger so I pick up ginger and peel the root and then slice the root to bite sized pieces. I then use a fruit juice usually raspberry or blackberry since it is plentiful. Juice and ginger root into a pot and simmer for awhile. Usually use honey but sugar works added after the ginger root takes on a transclucent look. It picks up the color of whatever fruit juice I happen to be using, I then add honey but sugar will work just fine and simmer till it begins to thicken.  Strain the ginger out and strain the syrup into a container. For the ginger I have sugar in a baking sheet and after it has drained a bit I throw it onto the bed of sugar and coat it liberally. I put the ginger on a screen and let it dry a few days in the oven,  just so it is out of the way and if when I look at it it needs more sugar I recoat those pieces. I reserve the sugar for baking it infuses a slight ginger flavor into cookies etc. Syrup for pancakes or it's great on unflavored yogurt and my mom gets crystalized ginger cheaper than from the health food store.  Any flavor fruit juice works just what is handy.
 
rose macaskie
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      In england they sell golden syrup that comes from some part of prcessing of cane sugar which isnot so good as mapple syrup that is just deliciouse and i can't believe there is any real substitue for it,and there is always treacle which has a very strong taste is full of iron and so is healthy i like it but its very strong and there is honey.
  Fresh maple syrup is only 2 percent sugar which is a really good mix for bacteria, it is like milk quickly degrades. I have read, when i was looking up sap flow, the articles on sap flow from those who study maples are really interesting. that as it is a great culture for bacteria or you or you boil it down quick  or you get somethig pretty dangerouse as a food stuff. It needs lots of boiling down to get to syrup, that adds to its price, they have found it is better to boil it down in wide flat pans than deep ones. agri rose macaskie.
 
rose macaskie
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  I think you can buy golden syrup and treacle cane sugar refining syrups, in health food shops if you can't get them in the stores, that is the case here in Spain.
    I read that the production of maple sugar increased in the northern states of america because you were trying to sanctiion the users of slaves by not buying cane sugar products.
    I used to make toffe as a child, i used to mix water or cream or milk with sugar and butter and cook it up to make sweets for myself. I suppose you could make a toffee syrup by doing the same and taking it off the fire before the liquid in it evaporated so much that  it turned the same texture as toffee. May be lightly browning the butter taking care not to burn it before putting in the other ingrediants would be a good idea.
      Browning butter is called making  black butter in french recipies, you do it to cook steaks in it, you crush pepper corns and `put them in the butter to sizzle till the butter browns and and then put its called,  steak with peppers, it could be black hamburghers i suppose, it is  easy and deliciouse but i hardly ever bother to do it. agri rose macaskie.
 
Ken Peavey
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Birch syrup is made the same way as maple, has a stronger flavor and is about 3 times the price.  Tap the birch trees as you would a maple, boil it down the same way.  It takes about 3 times the sap, figure 120-150 gallons of sap to make a gallon of syrup.

Sorghum syrup is made with sorghum berries, aka milo.  The stuff you feed your chickens.  I've seen it, never made it, don't know what the process is.

 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Paul:

After some apparently un-related reading, I think the natural maple flavoring you mentioned might be from fenugreek seed.

I'm going to plant some this spring, out of curiosity.
 
Ken Peavey
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Natural maple flavor is exactly that-maple syrup.  The rules allow as little as 2% by weight be included in a product to call it maple flavored. 
 
                                
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Sorghum syrup is not made from the berries, but from the sap of the stalks, cooked down like maple syrup. www.rareseeds.com and www.seedman.com sell sorghum seeds to plant for feed or syrup.
 
Ken Peavey
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I am misinformed.
Can I harvest the berries AND the stalks or are the stalks harvested earlier?
 
                                
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I have only grown sorghum for one year, so not an expert here. I did a lot of reading and I think most people try to cut the stalks when the seeds are in the "Milk" stage. That is supposed to be the highest sugar-content time. BUT the weather, labor availability etc can throw things off and it will still work later as long as they don't freeze. Looking thru seed listings I do see some for seed only (Milo) and some that say for both seed and syrup.
There was one odd thing that happened I'd like to relate. I am in TN zone 6b and planted "Mennonite" variety sorghum around the end of April/first of May. The stalks got 8 ft tall, began making seed heads and I cut them late July. They RE-GREW from the stumps and made another set of stalks that made seed heads before frost. The second set were thinner and woodier and less sap. I don't know if it was just the perfect weather or what, never read anywhere about getting 2 crops per year from any variety. I was surprised.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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rockguy: That's fantastic about the two crops of sorghum. I'll have to remember that. It doesn't sound like it's good for two crops of syrup, but great if you want straw & seed.

Ken Peavey: I think "natural maple flavoring" is such weak language that a marketer would be laughed out of buisness after attaching it to any product that contains real maple. From what I know of food processors, the phrase would mean "a natural flavoring that suggests maple."

For instance, "natual vanilla flavoring" is a byproduct of kraft paper: it's extracted from the black liquor that results when lignins break down.

Wikipedia says the regulations are as follows, in case people are interested:

the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or any other edible portions of a plant, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose primary function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.
 
                    
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When we would run out of maple syrup, my mom used to use Maplene to make a pretty good fake maple syrup, however it is only the maple flavor and you have to have a base of water and white sugar, brown sugar or molasses to which you add the Maplene and then boil it to a syrupy consistency.  From a health standpoint, it sort of defeats the purpose.
 
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