to have Courage....In Family Life, In Spirituality, In Health, In Living Simply

I'm on a journey...... as we all are. Learning, remembering, re-discovering about health, spirituality, relationships, emotions and the mind.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Maple Sugaring

We made it out to Haveracre Farms on Saturday to see how maple water is processed into maple syrup.  It was a gorgeous day for a family outing.

You can see the blue hoses running through the forest, with branches off to tap into the individual trees.  11,000 of them.  We were able to walk down the little access road to see them.  It was such an incredible day to be out, and Jason, the owner of this business, said the sap was running at high volume for such a warm day.

These blue hoses then connect to a larger pipe that runs down the hill to a few different tanks.  Here's one, where we were able to watch the sap water flowing. 

All of us were surprised at how clear the water looked.

The ground was quite muddy. 

'Washing' our shoes off with the snow before we climbed back into the van.

 After going through reverse osmosis which removes about 75% of the water, it enters these chambers in a boiler, heated by wood, then it goes to another boiler with several chambers but this one is electric which enables the temperature to remain more constant and controlled as the syrup becomes more concentrated. 

This is Jason, the man who runs the show.  After being in the second boiler it will be released into this container in batches where Jason checks to make sure the concentration of sugar to water is correct, along with the temperature.  Then it goes through a filter to eliminate any impurities, then piped over to.......
the bottling station.  It goes in piping hot, sterilizing the bottles.  You can be sure we got the glass bottles vs the plastic.  Can you imagine the toxins that gas off when that boiling sugar water hits it??  Yuck.

And on our way home from Antigonish, we were treated to........

watching what we think was an old barn burn down.  It was spreading to the surrounding grass, and as we drove along the highway, firetrucks were coming from all directions.  We had originally thought it might have been a practice fire for the volunteers, but soon discovered it wasn't.  They must have called trucks in from all the neighbouring communities. 

Okay, so back to the Maple Syrup.

Since we are eating High Raw, and syrup obviously isn't raw, one might ask why we bothered going, and why we bought some of that sugary stuff.  Well, maple syrup is like one of the top symbols of Canada, and somehow we'd managed to miss this event every year we've been out here.  We just had to go see a working farm.  And engaging as many of our senses as possible, we agreed to include our tastebuds.  So we caved and had buckwheat pancakes with syrup for Sunday breakfast.

But the real reason I buy maple syrup is because of this following recipe.......

Garlic Balsamic Dressing

1/3 c olive oil
1/3 c balanced oil (if I don't have any, I use whatever healthy oil I have, like flax, or sesame, etc)
1/3 c balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp dried basil
3 Tbsp maple syrup
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 tsp prepared mustard (I like dijon or homemade)
pinch celtic salt and black pepper (or better yet, use dulse flakes instead)

Whisk together to use for a dressing.  You can whip it to make as a dip.

This is our family's favorite salad dressing, which for some reason we've been affectionately calling it Sludge for years now.

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