Pure Organic Maple Sugar is Re-emerging as A Unique & Authentic Sweetener
SPRING IS MAPLE HARVEST SEASON IN VERMONT
Brattleboro, VT – Coombs Family Farms announced today that it has begun shipping its new Pure Organic Maple Sugar to retailers. Maple sugar was the leading sweetener in North America for hundreds of years - but its popularity waned over the past century due to the emergence of cheap refined cane sugar. Intent on bringing pure maple sugar back to its former position of prominence, Coombs Family Farms is introducing this delicious product to honor a seven generation family tradition and to meet the growing demand of chefs and home gourmets for authentic, unprocessed natural foods.
“Pure maple sugar has been a secret ingredient for chefs and food companies for a long time,” says Arnold Coombs, President of Coombs Family Farms and a 7th generation maple farmer. A quick review of grocery store shelves reveals that leading food manufacturers are using maple sugar to sweeten ham, hot and cold cereals, bacon, salad dressings, sauces and marinades, nuts, baked beans, breads, desserts, yogurt, apple sauce, snacks and other foods. “Maple sugar is on its way to becoming a year-round pantry staple again,” Coombs says.
Coombs Family Farms has harvested pure maple syrup for seven generations and is one of the few maple product companies that still manages its own maple farms and is allied with hundreds of independent farmers that share their commitment to quality, environmental stewardship and sustainable forestry. Coombs Family Farms is offering its new Pure Organic Maple Sugar in convenient shaker containers of 6.1 ounces for a SRP of $4.99 and 25 ounces for a SRP of $14.69. This natural treat, which is created by evaporating water content from pure maple syrup, is certified organic by the OCIA. This certification confirms that sustainable forestry practices are followed, trees aren’t over-tapped, no pesticides are used on or near the farm and appropriate cleaning processes are followed.
“Pure maple sugar is easy to use and provides a unique and authentic flavor to a wide variety of recipes,” states David Hale, Executive Chef at the New England Culinary Institute. “The recipe substitution rule for maple sugar is to use 1/2 to 3/4 cup of Maple Sugar in place of 1 cup cane sugar,” he adds. Suggestions for using maple sugar include: substituting for cane sugar in baking recipes; topping off ice cream; sweetening a healthy bowl of oatmeal or a crunchy cereal; sprinkling on French Toast; enlivening baked apples; topping coffee cakes; glazing a baked ham; or sweetening iced tea and coffee. To learn more about how to turn ordinary dishes into culinary delights by adding maple sugar, visit the recipes page at www.coombsfamilyfarms.com.
Market surveys indicate that today’s consumers are increasingly interested in the authentic story behind the products they buy. “People think its special how maple sugar is ‘Mother Nature’s sweetener’ - derived directly from a tree,” Coombs states. Coombs Family Farms customers appreciate the fact that they are purchasing maple products from a company that supports small family farmers and is committed to environmental stewardship. “I tap 300 year old maple trees that my great-grandparents tapped and we still support many of the same small farms they did,” says Coombs.
The exact origin of maple sugar is unknown, but it is believed that Native Americans were the first to tap trees and cook sap to make maple sugar. Journals from explorers as early as 1609 mention the native peoples’ process of making maple sugar. The sap was collected in large wooden bowls and hot stones were placed in them to boil off the water leaving behind maple sugar. Other lore states that natives used clay pots as the boiling vessels and cooked the sap over an open fire. Early North American settlers also learned to harvest maple syrup, using wooden buckets hung from the trees and iron kettles for boiling. Back in the old days, settlers and natives prized maple sugar, rather than syrup because the sugar was easier to pack and store. Maple syrup became more popular toward the end of the 19th century.
In addition to the sweet flavor of maple products, people are attracted to its nostalgic story. Maple sugaring is an important part of New England history and culture. For more information, visit www.coombsfamilyfarms.com or call 888-266-6271.
DELICIOUS MAPLE SUGAR RECIPE
Coombs Maple Sugar Cheesecake
16 oz Cream Cheese
3/4 cup Coombs’ Maple Sugar
1 tsp. Coombs Family Farms Grade B Maple Syrup
2 tsp. Lemon Juice
Mix all ingredients well. Pour into a cheesecake pan. Bake at 350 F for 30 - 35 minutes.
Tapping Into Fun Maple Syrup & Maple Sugar Facts
· It typically takes about 40 years to grow a maple tree large enough to tap.
· Maple sap starts flowing several weeks earlier than sap in other tree species.
· The normal maple syrup season lasts 4-6 weeks (late February - early April).
· Maple sap contains only between 1% to 7% sugar, averaging about 2.5% sugar.
· It takes about 40 gallons of sap to produce 1 gallon of syrup.
· It takes 1 gallon of syrup to produce 8 pounds of maple sugar.
· Each tree tap produces about 10 gallons of sap per season.
· To tap a tree, a 19/64” hole is drilled out 1½ to 2 inches deep, a pipe spout is driven into the hole and the bucket is hung from this or the tubing is attached.
· The old-timers claim “a good tree flows at a steady 2 drops per heartbeat.”
· A tree 10 inches in diameter is considered the minimum tapable size.
· For the best quality syrup, sap should be boiled within 24 hours of when it is gathered.
· It usually takes from 1-3 hours for sap to be evaporated into maple syrup.
· Vermont has an ideal climate for growing sugar maple trees and for sap flow; - and it’s the largest producer of syrup in the U.S. (37%) with 2,000 producers generating 460,000 gallons (2000).