One of the joys of harvesting maple sap for syrup, is drinking straight from the tap. This all natural spring tonic has been utilized for centuries. Native Americans knew the benefits of maple sap, as did early settlers, as well as those who have lived close to the land, dependent upon on a local seasonal diet throughout the years.
A maple tree’s roots grow deep into the ground and ‘mine’ nourishing minerals and vitamins from deep within the earth bringing them up through the tree and into the sap. Maple sap contains many valuable minerals, enzymes, beneficial nutrients, and antioxidants, perfect for replenishing the body after a long winter. These nutrients become readily available for the body to utilize within the sap, or maple water.
Historically, seasonal winter diets relied primarily on locally raised and preserved food, they could become limited in their vitamin and mineral content. As one consumes the same foods for an extended period, without the variety that is available in grocery stores today, by the end of the winter season a body could most likely be in need of some extra nourishment. That is why a seasonal diet is so important. Often, the exact vitamins and minerals one might need, come along naturally in the next season. This is the case with maple sap, or maple water, which all the old timers called Spring Tonic.
This spring tonic can put the spring back in your step, if you are feeling a little low. Some refer to maple sap as Nature’s Energy Drink. It is extremely refreshing, and once you experience it, you look forward to spring when the sugar trees start their run. It tastes slightly sweet, light and crisp. I have experienced nothing else like it. It is full of vim and vigor.
Some people prefer to boil their sap first, before drinking, as there may be a slight chance of bacterial contamination, depending upon how your equipment was washed and handled. This pasteurizes the final product. It still bears its mineral and vitamin content, but keep in mind that any beneficial bacteria will have been destroyed. Boiling the sap makes a sweet water of sorts, and is wonderful for making coffee, tea, and hot toddies. We have found it is best enjoyed with the company of friends around the cook fire!
We enjoy our spring tonic in a variety of ways, but the best one is straight from the tap, or bucket!
If you are not in the camp of making your own maple syrup, but have a maple tree in the backyard, you may want to consider tapping it, for your own very own source of spring tonic!