Along the Grapevine


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Maple Leaf Fritters

 

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Our lawn is covered in mostly brown leaves which have fallen from our sugar maples on the front lawn. Except for a few which I will rake up to cover some of my delicate plants, they will stay there till spring, get chopped up in the first mowing, and return to the ground as a kind of natural fertilizer. It never had occurred to me to collect any of these leaves as a source of food until I came across this article about a Japanese recipe for fried maple leaves in a sweet tempura batter. In this article they had the advantage of Japanese maple, which is a much more defined leaf, but I decided to use what I have, which is sugar maple. If you have Japanese maple leaves, you might want to try them – the result is so pretty. Just look at those pictures.

I was understandably hesitant, and did a fair amount of research before undertaking this experiment. I found no references to maple leaves being poisonous to people, but some are very bad for horses. If you at all curious or doubtful about the wisdom of  ingesting these, you might want to look into it further. This article and this one are a good place to start. Continue reading


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Maple Taffy

This post is for blog event organized by The Novice Gardener. Bloggers are invited to submit a post showing how they celebrate Friday with some fun, fiesta-like activity. Surrounded by all this beautiful snow, I am certainly in a fiesta mood. As a forager, I can’t help looking at all this snow-buried landscape and wondering ‘what can I do with this while it lasts?’ So I am making a special treat with snow and maple syrup.

The Driveway

The Driveway

This is hardly a new recipe. I have seen it made and eaten many times, usually during the maple sap season and as part of the maple syrup production at a sugar shack. I have never tried it, so this seems a perfect opportunity to see if I can do it myself, and have some fun at the same time. The maple syrup is local – not from my property. The foraged ingredient is the snow!

To make this taffy, fill a cookie sheet with clean snow and keep cold. Boil some syrup until it reaches 235-245 degrees F, or the hard ball stage. Pour it in strips over the snow, and roll a popsicle stick or other similar utensil over the strip, rolling the maple around the stick as you go.

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For a little variety, and to cut the sweetness to some degree, I added chopped salted peanuts.

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Maple Syrup Taffy with Peanuts