This is pretty well heresy for me.
I mean, I have amazing memories from my childhood of tromping through the snow to gather sap buckets from trees in the woods with my grandfather, hauling them in our toboggan. Whole days spent at up at the maple sugar camp with just an old hay barn, a sled and snowsuit, an outhouse, and a couple of sugar shacks with their steam puffing out from the roof, curling into the crisp blue cloudless sky. Oh, it was bliss.
I have absolutely nothing against 100% real maple syrup, except that the grocery store charges me $10.99 for a litre (that’s the best price I can find in my area). Between baking, pancake making, and random other things, we can easily go through a couple of litres of month (though we try to conserve it as much as we can!).
Did you know that it takes 40 gallons of sap to make just ONE gallon of maple syrup? No wonder the danged stuff is so expensive.
It occurred to me recently that perhaps I could try to make my own. I had heard of other people doing it, and figured I could save a boatload of money, so I started googling. Sadly, all I could find were recipes with added sugars and other ingredients. I wanted mine to still be real maple syrup – I just wanted to stretch it a little further for frugality’s sake. Kind of like adding more water to the pot of soup.
So, I experimented, and it turned out great! It tastes a little different. More like sap from the tree (only not that watery), but still maple-ish yumminess. My kids can’t tell the difference, especially on pancakes. I suggest also serving it with a berry sauce if you’re putting it on pancakes. If you did that, I bet even adults wouldn’t even notice the difference.
Beth’s Frugal Real Maple Syrup Recipe
1/4 cup 100% real maple syrup
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup water (separate)
1/2 tablespoon potato starch
In a small pot on the stovetop, stir together maple syrup and 1/2 cup water. Heat on low. In a mason jar (or an airtight jar with a lid) add 1/4 cup water and the potato starch. Shake to combine, making sure there are no lumps. Pour starch and water mixture into pot with maple syrup and water, and stir together. Heat on medium-low until the mixture thickens a bit, then store in the fridge, covered (or serve warm immediately).
For a simple berry pancake topper sauce, heat frozen raspberries in a pot on the stovetop, add a tablespoon or two of water, and stir. Use a fork to mash the berries a bit, then spoon over pancakes! For a special occasion finish with real whipped cream.
When the pancake batter is mixed up and the syrup, berries, and cream are all ready, give me a call and I’ll be right over!