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Posts Tagged ‘maple wine’

Gastronomically yours,

March 8th, 2015

Maple Wine at Home
Mead often makes one think of mythical times, strange creatures and folklore.

The term honeymoon and its practice are still common in today’s weddings.

This term comes from the custom of drinking fermented honey based beverages for a moon or month after your wedding.

It was believed that this practice ensured the birth of a son.
Mead is traditionally made from honey and water that has been fermented with yeast.

This alcoholic beverage is considered to be the godfather of fermented beverages.

Its discovery dates back to 7000 BC and are believed to have originated in China.
Mead is sometimes called honey wine as its alcohol content can range from 4-12% by volume.

Melomel is mead made with the addition of fruit or fruit juice and may also contain spices.

A Pyment is mead produced with the addition of grapes or grape juice which can also be spiced up into a Hippocras.

Sack mead is stronger tasting mead which contains much more honey than regular mead.

Williams-Sonoma Homemade Mead Kit is available on-line

Williams-Sonoma Homemade Mead Kit is available on-line

The warmer weather has got me thinking about the upcoming maple syrup season and everything you can make with maple syrup.

Maple sugaring has been an early spring tradition in eastern Canada ever since the native peoples of the Eastern Woodlands discovered that maple sap cooked over an open fire produces a sweet sugar.

Maple syrup

Maple syrup

Maple wine can be made in the same manner as mead.

All that is different is that we use maple syrup instead of honey and it is usually ready to drink in half the time that it takes to make the traditionally honey laced mead.
Maple wine will become crystal clear with a delicate amber color within 60 days. Mead takes about 100 days to clarify.

If you choose to bottle the maple wine before it is clear, it will clarify in the bottles as the sediment settles.
Maple Wine at Home
Ingredients:

7 litres maple syrup

5 teaspoons yeast nutrient

15 grams white wine yeast

20 litres of cold water

Procedure:
Dissolve the yeast nutrient in some hot water. Gently hydrate the wine yeast in warm water. Mix the maple syrup with cold water in a large open container. Pour the dissolved yeast and yeast nutrients, into a glass carboy and pour in the watered down syrup. Use a blow off tube for the first four days to allow the rapidly produced gasses to escape. After which you should switch the blow off tube for a water trap. After about 60 days, when the maple wine is crystal clear and you can bottle your maple wine. I tend to use yeast nutrient and plenty of yeast for starter, when making maple wine, mead or ginger beer so that the fermentation happens rapidly. This quickly produces a high alcohol content and kills off any unwanted bacteria.

Maple Icewine available at banffgifts.ca

Maple Icewine available at banffgifts.ca

 

 

 

Looking for a new freezer? We sell upright freezers that are designed and built exclusively for the All-Natural Food Council of North America. For details please conact me at thechef@chefbrianhenry.com

Looking for a new freezer? We sell upright freezers that are designed and built exclusively for the All-Natural Food Council of North America. For details please conact me at thechef@chefbrianhenry.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gastronomically yours,

March 8th, 2014

Let’s get Tapping

The great thing about this year’s winter is that it has lasted longer than in previous years allowing us additional time to prepare for our first plant based agricultural harvest; maple syrup. This year’s harvest of maple syrup is delayed by about a month and it is expected to be a great one due to the harshness and length of the winter.

For a one time investment of $200.00 you can purchase enough maple sugaring gear to tap 12-14 trees for years to come. Additionally you will need to purchase propane to fire the sap into syrup. I purchased $60 of propane from which I produce over 16 liters of my own maple syrup. Considering that a liter of syrup costs around $20 this is a very economical approach to enjoying maple syrup. The amount of work involved in making these 16-liters of syrup was rather shocking and makes purchasing locally produced syrup seem like a bargain at $20 a liter.

New and used maple sugaring supplies can be purchased locally at the Peterborough Co-Op located just outside of Peterborough on highway 7. This farmer owned farm Co-operative has been serving Peterborough County for over 70 years and can assist you in starting up your own urban maple syrup farm.

 

Homemade Maple Syrup

If you have a few sugar maple trees, you can make your own maple syrup. I strongly recommend not boiling sap inside your house.

You will need the following

Cordless drill with a 7/16” bit

Spigots and metal or plastic pails with lids.

Felt syrup filter. (optional)

Large plastic pails for storing freshly gathered sap

Outdoor cooker with pot available at hardware stores

Full propane tank and a backup tank

Candy thermometer.

Clean glass jars that will seal for storing your syrup

 

How to make your own syrup:

First be sure your trees are sugar maples. Drill a 7/16″ hole 3″ deep at waist height into unblemished bark. Drive the spigot in so that it is tight and cannot be pulled out by hand, but don’t overdo it and split the tree. Hang your bucket on the hook of the spout. Be sure to cover the bucket with a lid.

Once the sap has started to run and you have enough in your buckets to fill your boiling pot two-thirds full, you are ready to fire up the burner. Do not overfill your pot, as it will boil over. As the water evaporates, add more sap to the pot. Do not have less than an inch of liquid in the pot as it may burn. You can add cold sap right into the boiling sap. It will take a lot of boiling to get it to become syrup. Remember that 40 liters of sap make one liter of maple syrup.

Do not leave an accumulation of sap in the collecting buckets especially in warm weather, as the sap will sour. Keep the sap as cold as possible and boil it as soon as you can. Finished maple syrup will be 7.5 °f. above the temperature of boiling water at your elevation, check this with your candy thermometer. I like to use a hydrometer to tell me when my syrup is done. Proper syrup will weigh at least 11 pounds per gallon. Do not go beyond 11 1/4 pounds per gallon or it may form crystals in the bottom of the storage container.

Pour finished hot syrup through a felt syrup filter or strainer. Sediment will settle to the bottom of the jars and clearer syrup may be carefully poured off the top. Personally I prefer to leave the sediment in my syrup, as it is a concentration of calcium and other minerals and is quite healthy to consume.

 

Pour the hot syrup into the clean, sterile canning jars and seal. Fill them full so that very little air will be in the jar. If laid on their side while cooling a better seal will result. Store your finished syrup in a cool place. The freezer is ideal and properly prepared syrup will not freeze and a poor seal will not be as important when stored in a freezer.

If proper taping procedures are followed, tapping will not endanger the health and vitality of your trees as a healthy sugar maple can provide sap every year for a hundred years or more.

 

Looking for hard to find ingredients and gourmet foodstuffs?

Check out http://cookculture.poolpatioandbbq.com

Maple Wine

As the season has just begun our first 3 liters of syrup would be classified as Canada No. 1 Light which is a pale, honey like delicate syrup produced only at the beginning of the season.  Maple syrup is divided into five grades, based largely on color. Canada No. 3 Dark lies at the other end of the spectrum, as a richly colored full-flavored syrup which is harvested towards the end of the season. Canada No. 1 Medium is the most popular grade; it’s produced midseason.

Most people will take maple syrup and drizzle it over food just like ketchup. My point being that neither is considered to be an act culinary genius. We simply use it as a condiment and pour it over anything from baked goods and pancakes to salmon and pork dishes.

one should try any of the following ideas If you are harvesting your own sap or have access to fresh sap I recommend any of the following ideas and concepts to appreciate maple sap and syrup to the fullest..

Farmers Rock!

Farmers Rock!

Anywhere that you use water in your kitchen you can replace it with maple sap so try making your coffee and tea with sap instead of water.  I will freeze a few liters of sap to make iced teas with in the summer. A maple-mint julep can take the edge off of any lazy summer day.

Some of my favorite ways of cooking with sap is to reduce by half it until it just starts to thicken and turn a slight amber color. At this point the sap will have a slightly pronounced maple flavor, now you can get adventurous, try cooking your oatmeal or other hot cereal grains in this reduced sap. It is perfect for cooking wild rice and quinoa as well.

I recently cooked baked beans with sap in a crock pot for several hours. I only added some salt, chopped onion and bacon. I didn’t have to add any brown sugar or molasses to the recipe as I found them to be delicious with just the maple sweetness.

Looking for hard to find ingredients and gourmet foodstuffs?

Check out http://cookculture.poolpatioandbbq.com

 This sap reduction can be used as a poaching medium as well. Try poaching salmon or chicken in it.  For a taste of a true Canadian breakfast poach your eggs in the reduced sap and serve it up with smoked bacon.

Enjoy the first harvest of the Kawarthas’ and support our local maple syrup producers. For the more adventurous ones out there I recommend trying this week’s recipe for wine.

 

 

Tired of mixed messages

Tired of mixed messages

Maple Sap Wine

Four liters maple sap

Up to 1kg granulated sugar

Two lemons

Ten cloves

One eighth tsp tannin

One tsp yeast nutrient

One package of Riesling wine yeast

First measure the specific gravity of the sap with a hydrometer to determine how much sugar to add to achieve a starting specific gravity of 1.085-1.090. Different saps will contain different amounts of natural sugar, and even the sap from the same tree will differ from year to year. In a stainless steel pot stir the required amount of sugar into the maple sap and bring to a low boil for 15 minutes, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. In a separate pan, combine a cup of the sap with the cloves and zest of the lemons and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain the clove mixture back into the sap and sugar pot and add the juice from the lemons and the yeast nutrient. When cooled to 22° c., add the activated wine yeast. Cover the pot and store it at room temperature. Be sure to stir the mixture daily for 8-10 days. Transfer to a secondary carboy fitted with an airlock. Ferment for 6-8 weeks. Rack into a sanitized secondary, refit the airlock and bulk age for 12 months.

 

Looking for hard to find ingredients and gourmet foodstuffs?

Check out http://cookculture.poolpatioandbbq.com

Proud Winner of the Top Chef Readers Select Award 2014

Proud Winner of the Top Chef Readers Select Award 2014

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