There is nothing that tastes quite like the promise of spring than sap straight from a tapped maple tree. The cool, refreshing and slightly sweet taste can cleanse the palate and awaken the mind from months of hibernation. Filled with minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron and zinc this low calorie beverage can provide energy without spiking your blood sugar.
The First Nations people harvested maple sap for thousands of years before the settlers landed in North America. It was one of the first tastes of fresh food after the long winter period. Though used primarily as the liquid in cooking, a certain amount of the sap was reduced down to maple sugar through a unique evaporation process. The maple sap was left to freeze overnight and the icy layer of water was removed in the morning. This concentrated sap was then poured into a long wooden trench that was carved from a tree truck. Hot stones were repeatedly placed into the trench to heat the sap and evaporate the water. What was left from this labor intensive process was a maple sugar that was high in magnesium, zinc and oligosaccharides.
In modern times you may have heard the word oligosaccharides in relation to probiotics. This compound sugar is used for growing lactobacilli in nondairy probiotic formulas. Maple sap is a good source of oligosaccharides and can be used to feed the good bacteria in our gut that help digest our food and strengthen our immune system.
This was proven in a 2008 Biotechnology Research Institute, National Research Council of Canada study that stated "maple sap as a substrate for lactic acid production and for the development of a nondairy probiotic drink."
For those of you who can't get out to tap a maple tree of your own, visit The Big Carrot for a local supply.
Click here for Julie's 100% Canadian Maple Sap Smoothie.
Julie Daniluk RHN, author of The Anti-Inflammatory Diet, Slimming Meals That Heal and Hot Detox. Learn more at juliedaniluk.com
1. Cochu A1, Fourmier D, Halasz A, Hawari: “Maple sap as a rich medium to grow probiotic lactobacilli and to produce lactic acid.” J. Lett Appl Microbiol. 2008 Dec;47(6):500-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1472-765X.2008.<wbr />02451.x.
2. Kathy R. Niness: “Inulin and Oligofructose: What Are They?” J. Nutr. July 1, 1999 . vol. 129 no. 7 1402S-1406s
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The Big Carrot is located in the Carrot Common, 348 Danforth Ave. 3 Blocks east of Broadview Ave. or 1 block west of the Chester subway.
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