Friday, March 23, 2007

Fresh maple sap and pretty apples



No, it's not a picture of a glass of water and two random apples.

My mum's little brother Ants popped by on Tuesday night to discuss some business. I mention it here, because he brought us a large bag of perfect-looking apples from his farm in Paluküla (yep, the same place I go to look for honey-coloured cloudberries, tiny wild strawberries and enticing wild mushrooms). Some of the apples were promptly turned into tarte tatin, as we had some pastry left over after making red onion and feta tart, and we're still happily munching through the rest.

But even more exciting food gift was a large bottle of fresh maple sap my uncle had extracted from a maple tree in his farm. Although I tend to prefer birch sap over maple one, this was delicious and refreshing, and a sure reminder that spring has arrived. Just drink it instead of your usual glass of water or juice! In Estonian we indeed even call it 'vahtramahl' or 'maple juice'.

Note that it's not the same maple sap that is used for making maple syrup in Northern America. Only sugar maple (Acer saccharum) or black maple (Acer nigrum) produce suitably sweet sap for that purpose. The Estonian native maple tree is of the Norway maple (Acer platanoides) species, and although the sap is sweet (tastes like a mild sugar water we sometimes used to drink as kids), then it's not sweet enough for turning into a good-quality syrup.

8 comments:

Liis said...

Pille - Su foto on nagu natüürmort, väga ilus...

Spinning Girl said...

Lapsena jõin tihti vahtra mahla.
(tere tere!)

Alanna said...

What do you do with it then?

K & S said...

I didn't realize that the sap was clear. Very intriguing. Thanks for sharing.

Clivia said...

Oh, sap is so good. And also, I have read and heard, incredibly good for you. Lots of vitamins or such. People used to drink it in old times to get their strength back after a long hard winter without fresh food. I have tried birch sap when I was little.

Pene said...

Thanks for the tree information. A friend from Vermont wondered why Estonians didn't make maple syrup from all the maple trees he saw when visiting Tartu a few summers ago.

Shayne said...

ahhhhhh, maple sap, I miss maple sap. when I was a child my brother and I would hit the woods in the spring for hours and we never would have to go home for a drink just make a pit stop at the old tapped maple tree, it was great!

Pille said...

Tänud, Liis!

Spinning Girl - tere-tere! Tore kuulda, et ka Ameerikas väliseestlased vanu joomiskombeid alal hoidsid:)

Alanna - sorry, I should have mentioned it in the beginning - you simply drink it, like you'd drink juice or water. (I've edited the post now).

K&S - it was a bit opaque, yet clear. I think it looks pretty authentic on the picture.

Clivia - we've got quite a few birch trees in our garden, so I'm thinking if I should ask my uncle to install the sap-extracting system:) Birch sap is great - nice to hear you've tried some, too!

Pene - you're welcome. I had been wondering the same thing until recently:)

Shayne - that sounds so sweet:)Thanks for sharing!