Those of you who are unfamiliar with your Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder (and shame on you if you are unfamiliar, by the way), might be surprised to hear what a special treat white sugar was just a handful of generations ago. In pioneer times, when "town" might be a day or more drive from the homestead and when supplies might only come in by train every few months, white sugar was a commodity almost akin to gold or steel. It was rationed in leaner times and generally only used for special occasions and when visitors arrived. The amount that we dump into our hot beverages in the morning, sprinkle on our cereal, or use to make candy (gasp, I even do this when there is no particular holiday in sight!) would be considered almost vulgar in those times. Less-processed raw or brown sugar were more common for everyday use, as was molasses. But if your Little House was in The Big Woods, your primary source of sweetness was maple sap and syrup.
- Sweeten hot cereal such as oatmeal, farina, or corn mush by adding a splash of syrup or
- Replace the water in the recipes for hot cereal with fresh or partially evaporated sap
- Top desserts like ice cream or pie with a drizzle
- Add it to tea or coffee
- Heat a mug of sap for a warm, sweet drink
- Replace the sugar or liquid sugar in a cocktail with sap or syrup
- Anything else you can think of!
|Maple Sap Cooking Down to Syrup|
(It's so hard to wait!)