we work all fall to get the woods ready. We practice sustainable forest management, which means that we spend the summer and fall making sure our forest is healthy. This means cutting down dead trees and limbs. Clearing trails of debris. Making sure the tubing is properly strung. Below are some pictures Papa Z took while working in the woods last weekend. If you look closely you can see the spider web of the tubing.
Have a recipe and want to replace your white sugar with maple syrup?
Did you try a quick internet search? While the search was quick, I'm betting the results felt more like a lesson in baking and food chemistry. Below you will find the quick and easy conversion guide for Maple Syrup and Maple Sugar.
1 cup (c) white granulated sugar = 1 c maple granulated sugar
1 c white granulated sugar = 1 c maple syrup & reduce other liquids by 1/2 c
1 c packed brown sugar = 1 c + 1 Tablespoon (T) of maple granulated sugar
1 c packed brown sugar = 1 c + 1 T maple syrup & reduce other liquids by 1/2 c
So, there it is folks. You quick, easy, non-confusing reference guide.
Have you used maple syrup in a new recipe? We would love to hear the results.
The weather finally broke in Copenhagen and we are boiling! If you see steam coming out of the Maple Haus stop in. We will show you around.
The wind is blowing and it is snowing again in upstate NY, so Mama Z decided to share one of her comfort recipes with you.
Pop about 2 quarts of popcorn
In a sauce pan cook:
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c maple syrup
Boil the sugar and syrup until it reaches a rolling boil.
Remove from heat and add:
1/2 c chunky peanut butter (or any nut butter)
1/2 t vanilla
Drizzle over popcorn and enjoy.
Today I was working on a new recipe and I had trouble getting the lid off of a jar. While getting the lid off the jar (using tip #1), I wondered how many people are not privy to the little secrets that make working with maple syrup easier? Below are the tips I learned growing up in a maple producing family.
Tip #1: If you can't get a jar/plastic bottle open, run warm/hot water over the lid for about 30 seconds and then try again. If it still won't come off, give it another 30 seconds under the water then try again.
Tip #2: Tired of messy syrup drips. Use a butter knife. Place the butter knife a little lower than the lip of the container. (See picture) Pour your syrup over then knife. When you are done, simply remove the knife and you will have no mess.
Tip #3: If a recipe ever calls for maple syrup to be brought to a temperature over 220 degrees, take a pad of butter and run it along the inside, top of the pan. You only need to run the butter about half an inch from the top. This should prevent the maple syrup from boiling over (you still need to watch it as this is not a fool proof method). We apologize to our vegan friends who might not find this tip helpful.
Tip #4: If you maple syrup boils over, or you kid spills it, all you need is warm water. The best way to clean up a sticky maple mess is warm water, a little soap, and patience. Let the water dissolve the syrup and then just wipe it away.
The Polar Vortex dropped 6 FEET of snow on Copenhagen! But, have no fear, we dug out and now we are getting ready for the 2014 Maple Season.
Papa Zehr spent the week in the woods fixing and setting up tubing.
Wait, tubing?!! I thought maple sap was collected in buckets.
Maple syrup was traditionally collected in sap buckets. Each bucket would need to be taken off of the tree and poured into a collection tank at least once a day. Imagine having 2500 buckets that needed to be collected everyday. That's a lot of hard, cold, back breaking work. Instead, Maple Producers started working smarter rather than harder.
Tubing takes the sap directly from the tree to the collection tank using either a vacuum pump or gravity. No longer does it take 3 people collection sap all day. Now 1 person can do it.
So, this week Papa Zehr was making sure all of the tubing was set to the proper slope (the ideal slope is 2-4%).
Stay tuned for updates on our new bottle designs
It's been a while since I last posted. The week before Thanksgiving I was all set to post about the great time that we had at the Farm to Table Harvest Tasting and all the interesting new people we met (check out what Mediterranean Baby did with our Grade B Maple Syrup); however, shortly after that event I received a phone call from Mama Z that Grandpa Z had passed away (Here is link to his obituary). Because of that I spent the better part of the next two weeks in NY with my family. We spent alot of time tell stories about Grandpa, laughing way more than crying and enjoying being all together as a family again. I'd like to share with you two stories that we shared as a family during that time.
They say that smell triggers that strongest memories. Well, every time I open a bottle of maple syrup and the delicious sweet smell hits my nose, I think of my Grandpa. You see that smell reminds me of opening up the doors to the old sugar house. The steam from boiling and that delicious smell would hit you and then Grandpa would tell you to shut the door because you were letting all the heat out, lol. You see when it was sugar season Grandpa was always at the sugar house. He would be gathering sap, imagine a man on snow shoes carrying two 5 gallon buckets full of sap, or cleaning buckets, or just doing one of the hundred other tasks that needed to be done.
During the service my brother (Brandon) shared a story about collecting sap with Grandpa when he was 8 or 9. Sap is collected in large tanks and then brought to the sugar house for boiling. My Grandpa, Brandon, and one of my cousins were out collecting sap and there was a problem with one of the valves on the tank. (Imagine you have a big Gatorade drink container and the little spot won't stop leaking) Before they could get the leaking to stop they had lost almost 400 gallons of sap. Since Grandpa valued hard work, my brother tried to impress him by saying that now they would need to work twice as hard to make up for the lost sap. At the funeral my brother said, he will never forget when Grandpa told him that "We can never get back what is lost no matter how hard we work."
My Grandpa was full of life lessons like that, so as we approach the holidays we would like to encourage everyone to take a day, an afternoon, or even an hour to spend time your family, your friends, your pet, anyone and everyone who is special in your life.
While Grandma Z's might be named after Grandma Zehr, selling maple syrup will always remind me of my Grandpa Zehr.
After our busy market season (thank you customers :) ) we needed to take a vacation. Well.....vacation time is over. Our batteries are recharged and we have tons of new ideas. Can't wait for the November 16th Farm to Table Fall Harvest Tasting Event. For more information click here.
For those folks already planning holiday shopping our 2013 Gift Box selections have been posted and we will have pictures up by the end of next week. Have a maple gift idea in mind and need us to put it together. Shoot us an e-mail and we'll put together your perfect gift.
Want to win FREE maple syrup?
Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and post your favorite maple recipe. The one we like best Wins and free Quart of Maple Syrup (Grade A or B, winners choice).
Grandma Z's has officially ended our Farmers' Market season. This year we expanded from two to four markets, saw some old faces, and made some new friends. Our Maple Lemonade received more than a few strange looks; however, by the end of the season we were selling out half way through a market. I would consider that a success.
I have been out of town for work since the end of our market season and I have been to half a dozen Farmers' Markets in the area. And I have to say than none of them compare to what we have in Pittsburgh. The multiple farm and food vendors as well as all of the wonderful small business owners selling their creations have spoiled me.
So, in closing, we would like to take this opportunity to thank our customers, all the people involved in setting up and running the markets, and the other market vendors for their support and encouragement during the market season. We would also like to thank the Pittsburgh Area for being such a wonderful place to live and eat local.
I've spent alot of time recently talking with Mama and Papa Z about maple added products and brainstorming ideas for new products. 2014 is shaping up to be an inventive year for Grandma Z's; however, today I will be sharing with you Mama Z's all time favorite maple recipe: Easy Baking 'n' Making Cookies. This recipe was first printed on the 5-pound bag of Domino's Granulated Sugar and while Mama Z has altered the recipe slightly over the years the basic ingredients remain the same.