Friday, March 23, 2007
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.