Maple water has become something of a trend lately although there are historic roots in our region. French explorers recorded Native Americans imbibing the lightly sweet water centuries ago, and later the original settlers also drank maple water. It was an end-of-winter sweet treat and a long-standing tradition that most people have forgotten about. But it’s making a comeback as a locally-sourced, natural alternative to energy and fitness drinks, or other natural beverages such as coconut water. With a hint of natural sugar, the beverage boasts vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, and “all the compounds essential to the trees” for 25 calories per serving.
What is maple water? It’s simply the sap that comes out of the tree. Maple sap doesn’t come out of the tap already glossy, thick, and ready to pour on pancakes. When the sap first comes out of the tree, it has a faintly sweet taste and it is clear and as thin as water. To turn it into maple syrup, you have to boil it down. 40 gallons of maple sap makes about one gallon of maple syrup.
We are not sure if it’s the new coconut water, but we are excited to get the maple water (also called sap) straight from the tree during this short window in March. Tree Juice Maple Syrup sent us 10 gallons last week and we have been infusing it with tea for a brunch cocktail for our Sugar Shack Menu, using it as poaching liquid for fish, and even adding some ginger and CO2 to it for our own maple soda!
You can find maple water at Whole Foods and other natural grocery stores, but during the maple sugaring season you can ask the maple syrup folks at your farmers’ market if they have sap or would sell you a gallon. It will probably be much more economical to buy direct from the farmer and it will be fresher.
For the Recipe for the Maple Leaf Quencher go to this Askmen article where it was recently featured.