Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Cool sweets

If you have a sweet tooth, the cold snap is a boon. At least two weeks of freezing nights are needed for our maples to produce a good flow of late-winter sap, the source of America’s oldest breakfast condiment.

The warmth of first month of winter was beginning to make the sap tappers nervous. And there are plenty of maple harvesters around: little Connecticut ranks 10th in the United States in its maple syrup production – some 11,000 gallons annually.

The American Indians were the first to recognize the treat offered by maple sap, boiled down to its syrupy or solid essences. But it is only recently that scientists have found that this sweetener is actually good for you. A single teaspoon contains nearly a quarter of your daily need of manganese and plus a good dose of zinc to boot. Both minerals are important ingredients in the body’s antioxidant defenses.

So our maples not only provide sweet treats, plus shade, oxygen, and terrific fall colors, they also contribute to our good health.

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