This one’s got “wild” written all over it. Well, most of it. Well, maybe 50% of it.
Many years ago, while researching human nutrition, I came across the concept of eating “nose-to-tail.” You know, eating all the edible parts of an animal. Not just the muscle meat, which is what many Westerners consume, but every edible ounce.
No, I didn’t learn this in the classroom, even though dozens of credits were devoted to nutrition. I learned this on my own.
Which reminds me…
“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” -Mark Twain
Well said, Mark.
Organs, glands, hearts, bone marrow… if you want to talk about a natural diet for human beings (whatever that may be), it would be quite inaccurate to offer a description without at least mentioning these often discarded, yet immensely valuable animal parts.
Whenever we eat nose-to-tail, specifically an animal’s skin, bones (decocted in hot water), and connective tissue, chances are good that we are consuming gelatin — a broken down form of collagen.
Gelatin is as much a part of the natural human diet as, say, plants. Most Americans, however, eat a diet that is quite different from the diet our species was designed to eat. Usually I’ll bring up the topic of wild foods when comparing diets, as most Americans do not consume any wild foods. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, I’ll spare you the diatribe.
I will, however, mention this point: if we’re not consuming dietary gelatin, whether in whole-food form or through supplementation, our health may suffer. Yes, I suppose that’s a bold statement, but through my research, personal experiences, and interactions with others, I have come to believe that dietary gelatin (or collagen) is essential for optimal health.
Of course, I recommend ingesting gelatin and collagen in whole-food form whenever possible. Already eating nose-to-tail? You’ve probably got it covered.
For the times when we don’t have access to quality animal cuts, supplemental gelatin can be a good alternative. And this is exactly what we are going to use for this recipe.
Remember the gelatin most of us consumed as kids? Yeah, this won’t be that.
We’re using maple sap, freshly harvested from the tree. Why maple sap? Well, in addition to tasting great, and in addition to being a wild drink that has been ingested for centuries, maple sap is actually quite nutritious and medicinal.
How so, you may be asking? Ah, well let’s see. Research has shown that maple sap may…
- Provide support for osteoporosis
- Prevent gastric ulcer formation
- Lower blood pressure
- Mitigate alcoholic hangovers
- Support a healthy immune system
- Offer dietary antioxidants
The only catch? We gotta consume it!
And what better way to do that than by making maple sap gelatin treats.
This is a simple recipe that takes only 10 minutes or less to make. Of course, the final product must chill for at least 2 hours before it sets completely, though you can use that time to read some of the past articles I’ve written here at Wild Foodism. 😀
Maple Sap Gelatin Treats
- 1.5 C maple sap (if you do not have access to maple sap, maple water can be purchased)
- 3 Tbsp gelatin, powdered
- 6 Tbsp maple syrup
- Juice of 2 lemons (about 1/2 C of juice)
- Divide maple sap evenly into 2 vessels — one for heating, and one kept at room temperature or cooler.
- Heat 3/4 C of maple sap on stove, bringing it to a simmer.
- While this is heating, add the remaining 3/4 C of room temperature (or cold, either is fine) maple sap into a bowl.
- Sprinkle the gelatin on top of the room temperature maple sap, allowing it to “bloom” for a few minutes. Stir the mixture completely once bloomed. *Blooming is an important step when preparing gelatin in which the gelatin absorbs water, thus ensuring a smooth texture in the final product.
- Upon simmering, take the first batch of maple sap off the stove and add it to the bowl of maple sap and gelatin.
- Stir until the gelatin dissolves.
- Add this mixture to a container (I use an 8x6x2 glass dish).
- Stir in maple syrup and lemon juice.
- Place in refrigerator (or outside, if the temperature is cool enough), and let it sit for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Cut into squares and enjoy with someone special!
That’s it! Very simple, yet tasty and nourishing. Of course, you can alter the recipe a bit to your liking — adding more maple syrup, or subtracting some; using more lemon juice, or just a bit less. It’s really quite malleable.
You see, maple sap isn’t just for drinking, nor is it just for making syrup and sugar. It’s 2016, and that means maple sap is also great for making gelatin treats.
If you decide to make a batch, let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you!
Thanks for reading (and potentially making this recipe)!
Like what you’ve read? Sign up below to receive notifications for new posts, and don’t forget to check out the Facebook (facebook.com/wildfoodism) and Twitter (twitter.com/wildfoodism) pages to learn more about wild food nutrition and identification!