Maple for Food....................................... Japanese

1. How to make syrup

Maples contain sugar content by nature, and in general use with the sap containing 1-5% cane sugar, are the sugar maple (A.succharum), its variation black maple (A.nigrum), red maple (A.rubrum), big leaf maple (A.macrophyllum), box elder (A.negundo) from North America, field maple (A.campestre) from Europe and itaya-kaede (A.mono) from Japan.
The period for extracting sugar is from early in February to late in April. Trees which grow well are selected, 2-5 holes 1 cm across 5-8 cm in depth are bored at the part of the trees 1 m above the ground, glass or rubber pipes are put into the holes, then the flowing sap is caught by a vessel, such as 1.8-liter-bottle. The best way is to heat and condense the sap in a tub using a stove, so it seems a good side job for farmers. Production in Hokkaido and Shizuoka Prefecture is well-known in Japan. From a tree of itaya-kaede having a diameter of 30 cm, about 600g of sugar can be obtained on average. It is brown in color, and its crystal grain is big and is like a crystal sugar. Maple sugar is one element of Ainu culture. (quoted from Uehara Keiji : " Jumoku Dai Zusetsu ", Ariakeshobou )

Maple Syrup & Maple Jelly, Syrup & Maple Sugar

We feel like eating hot cakes !
We can see the photo of gathering syrup here.

Photo of gathering syrup

2. How about tea of Acer nikoense (Japanese name : megusurinoki) ?

Now we call Acer nikoense "megusurinoki". This name "megusuri no ki" (tree of eye lotion) comes from the fact that they used to boil down the bark, which is grayish and smooth, of Acer nikoense to make eye lotion. Let me show you the following story.

.... "At Souma district, Fukushima Pref. there has come down a medicine of clairvoyance for a long time. The name seems to have come from a legend that when they used the lotion which was made by boiling down the bark of the tree, and they became to be able to see the world so clearly that their eyesight could reach as far as a thousand ri(1 ri: about 4 km) far away owing to the lotion. ...... Thus, such a name was given to the tree. It was the very "Megusurinoki" which means "tree of eye lotion". ---- Not only barks but also twigs and leaves include the same ingredient. ------- " (quoted from a book on Natural history on grass, root, wood & bark by Rike Masafumi)

Tea of Maple(Acer nikoense) , Supplement of Maple(Acer nikoense) & Blueberry

3. Souvenirs from Noted places for Maple-viewing (Jan. 2008)

Let me show you "Momiji-manju" ,"Momiji-sembei" and "Momiji-no-tempura"

Firstly, Momiji-manju

Momiji-manju is wellknown as "Hiroshima special product".
Generally, "manju" is Japanese-style bun stuffed mainly with azuki-bean paste,
but "momiji-manju" is a slightly sweetish and lovely manju like a sponge cake,
it looks simple but chic, and matches well with tea & coffee.

Next, Momiji-sembei (Momiji rice cracker)

Thirdly, Momiji-tempura

Speaking of "momiji-no-tempura" we remember "Minoh Osaka Pref. and Kyoto.

It would be the best to eat "momiji-no-tempura" enjoying Maple-viewing !