In case you wanted to know or were just curious, here is a great little write up from Time Magazine on the history of Maple Syrup by …
When you think of maple syrup, whose 2009 season is just now wrapping up, the first image that pops into your mind is probably a huge tree trunk with a few metal buckets strapped on. Maybe you picture workhorses slogging through the snow, a sleigh laden with tree sap in tow. Maybe there’s a little wooden shack with a chimney emitting a plume of steam. What you might not picture are the dollar signs many are seeing around this surging agricultural commodity — maple syrup producers are celebrating high yields and record retail prices this year.
For some 300 years, however, sugaring stuck close by that rural idyll. Early settlers in the U.S. Northeast and Canada learned about sugar maples from Native Americans. Various legends exist to explain the initial discovery. One is that the chief of a tribe threw a tomahawk at a tree, sap ran out and his wife boiled venison in the liquid. Another version holds that Native Americans stumbled on sap running from a broken maple branch.
From the 17th century onward, dairy farmers who wanted to supplement their income from milk — or who just needed a source of sweetener that was better and cheaper than sugar or molasses — drilled small holes in the trees during the brief weather window between winter and spring. (Sap typically runs out of maple trees on days when the temperature is around 40 degrees following a night when the mercury dropped below freezing.) The farmers called the maple tree stands “sugar bushes” and hung buckets under the drilled holes. Every day or two — depending on how fast the sap was running out of the trees — the farmers would empty out the buckets into larger containers or tanks and haul the watery substance to a “sugar house” usually built in the woods. Here’s where the magic happened.
It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup because sap is about 98% water. Sugar makers boiled off most of the water over a wood fire — what they were left with was brown sweet syrup. Some sugar makers heated the sap further, turning it into crystallized sugar. Over time, the industry evolved enough that companies from Quebec to Vermont produced ready-made “evaporators,” essentially giant frying pans with fire boxes built underneath.
As quaint as this image is and as marketable — check out the vintage drawings on the sides of plastic maple syrup jugs — this is not the face of modern maple syrup making.
These days, most serious sugar makers have foregone labor-intensive buckets, in favor of tubing systems. The holes bored in sugar maples in early spring are usually made with a cordless drill. Sugar makers insert small plastic spouts into the holes and connect the spouts to huge webs of plastic tubing that route the precious sap into large tanks. Many of these sugar bushes even have vacuum systems that suck the sap out of the trees to increase yield, along with oil-fueled furnaces and reverse osmosis filters that remove some water prior to boiling. The technology has changed dramatically, but in essence the process is virtually the same. Collect sap, reduce over heat.
As the natural foods movement has picked up steam in recent years, maple syrup has become, along with honey, an increasingly attractive alternative to processed cane sugar. If you’re wondering where Aunt Jemima or Log Cabin syrup fit into this picture — these common table products are not real maple syrup. The tagline for Log Cabin, which is made with sugar, is “Authentic Maple Tasting Syrup for over 120 years.” This careful wording is intentional and crafted to avoid false advertising claims. (Most brands of maple-flavored pancake toppings are made with corn syrup.)
The actual maple syrup industry has grown some 10% in each of the past four years — and no, maple syrup it not just for flapjacks. These days, some maple syrup devotees use the liquid sweetener as a substitute for sugar in everything from cakes to stir fry. And let’s not forget the Master Cleanse diet — more accurately a fast — in which people eat nothing for days on end, subsisting only on a drink made of water, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and maple syrup.
Thanks to increasing demand and poor sugaring weather in some regions over the past several years, retail prices have spiked to as much as $80 per gallon in some places. In the current sagging economy, that definitely counts as a sweet spot.
Hungry? Vicky’s Burgers can help with that
Vicky’s Burgers would love to assist you in your hunger needs! Come visit us for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner 7 days a week! Always fresh, always HOT! At Vicky’s Burger we don’t just have burgers but also delicious milkshakes and a range of fantastic desserts to round out your meal, they are worth the calories.
Fresh Lettuce and Tomatoes
Lettuce and tomatoes both help you reach your weekly veggie intake — 21 cups for men or 17.5 cups for women, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They offer some nutritional differences — for instance, tomatoes contain the cancer-fighting compound lycopene, a nutrient not found in lettuce. However, lettuce and tomatoes also share a few common essential nutrients that help maintain your health.
Tomatoes and lettuce both provide you with fiber. Fiber aids in healthy digestion. A cup of chopped tomatoes provides 2.2 grams of fiber toward this goal. Romaine, butter lettuce and iceberg lettuce contain 2, 1.2 or 1.8 grams of fiber, respectively, per two-cup serving.
Incorporating tomatoes and lettuce into your diet also helps you reach your recommended daily intake of vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid. Tomatoes serve as a rich source of ascorbic acid. A cup of chopped tomatoes contains 25 milligrams of vitamin C — one-third of the 75 milligrams required daily for women and 28 percent of the 90 milligrams needed for men, according to the NYU Langone Medical Center. Lettuce contains smaller amounts of vitamin C, with a 2-cup serving of romaine, butter lettuce or iceberg lettuce each providing approximately 4 milligrams of ascorbic acid. Your body uses this vitamin C to nourish your immune system, aid in wound healing and promote healthy brain function.
Tomatoes and lettuce — particularly romaine lettuce — boost your intake of vitamin A. Your body uses vitamin A to aid in cell communication and the vitamin A in your system helps to guide cell development. Vitamin A also helps your body for rhodopsin, a chemical important to vision. Men need 3,000 international units of vitamin A daily to maintain good health, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements, while women need 2,333 IU. A two-cup serving of either romaine or butter lettuce provides your entire daily intake of vitamin A, containing 8,188 IU or 3,644 IU of vitamin A, respectively. Tomatoes contain 1,499 IU of vitamin A per cup, and a two-cup serving of iceberg lettuce provides 722 IU of vitamin A.
Egg burrito, $4.05
Three meat (choice of 3: ham, bacon, sausage, chorizo or Polish) $5.95
Ham, bacon, sausage, chorizo or Polish $5.05
Vicky’s Burger – WE DON’T SERVE FAST FOOD, WE SERVE GREAT FOOD, SINCE 1995
Freshness First – The Importance of Using Fresh Ingredients in Cooking
Every time you cook, you automatically reach for that can of veggies, fruits or preserved meat for your dish. Whether it is for yourself and your family, or your guests, your cooking almost always includes processed ingredients straight from the freezer or sealed packet. The fault of using processed or frozen ingredients lies not in the cooking style, but in the lifestyle. We simply do not have the time to search for and buy fresh ingredients every day.
In that process, we are jeopardizing our health and wealth. If you are a fan of canned food or eating out of the box, here are a few reasons that will make you choose fresh ingredients over processed ones.
Freshness for health
Fresh ingredients are always better for preparing healthy food, when compared to processed ingredients. Fresh ingredients are basically those that haven’t been exposed to chemicals or processed in any way to increase their shelf life. They have to be consumed on the same day or within a day or two. Fresh ingredients, including fresh vegetables, meat, spices like basil, cilantro, tomatoes, garlic also retain their nutritious value when you cook them right. Unlike processed foods, they are pure and not adulterated in any way, by exposure to preservatives and other such chemicals.
Food cooked with fresh ingredients is healthier than food cooked with processed ingredients or those stored using preservatives.
Fresh ingredients for better tasting food
When it comes to taste, nothing can beat fresh ingredients. The flavor in the food you cook is best when you use fresh ingredients – whether it is succulent meat, fresh produce, basil that is freshly grown in your own yard, ripe tomatoes from the plant you grew in your window – all of them taste a lot better fresh than preserved. At Vicky’s Restaurants we use fresh ingredients, come try us out and you will agree that food tastes better with fresh ingredients.
At Vicky’s, our burgers are made of fresh beef from local farmers. Not “natural”, partially local or mixed with all sorts of fillers. Our beef is good for your taste buds and your body. Our produce…lettuce, tomato’s, etc… is also locally sourced and always the freshest possible, all at a price that’s less expensive than many other burger restaurants.
The sandwich was named after John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, an 18th-century English aristocrat. Popularized in England in 1762, folklore says that Lord Sandwich was fond of this form of food because it allowed him to continue playing cards, while eating without getting his cards greasy. Today, the sandwich can take many forms but most commonly its sliced vegetables, meat and cheese between two pieces of bread that act as a “container” or “wrapper”.