Recently I have been looking through some books I hadn’t read in a while, and in a little book about their life in the wilderness by Bradford and Vena Angier, I came across the chapter where they write about making a realistic tasting maple syrup from potatoes and sugar.
It’s an interesting idea, isn’t it?
This recipe really needs to be followed exactly to achieve the real maple syrup taste. The water used must be only the water in which the potatoes have boiled… adding plain water to a smaller amount of potato water to make up the measurement just will not work and the taste will not be the same.
Peel 6 medium sized potatoes. Boil these uncovered in 2 cups of water until but one cup of fluid remains. Remove the vegetables for use any way you want. Stirring the liquid until it reaches the boiling point again, slowly add one cup of white sugar and one cup of brown sugar. Once this has entirely dissolved, take the pan off the heat to cool slowly.
… But bottle the syrup and tuck it away in a cabinet for several days to mature. Taste it again at the end of that time and see if you are not pleasantly amazed.
We were still amazed that morning. The flavor was almost beyond comparison, a phantom bouquet that haunted our taste buds; something to be savored very deliberately and lingeringly. It tasted to us now exactly like prime maple syrup, and we’d both been reared in maple syrup country.
–from the book Wilderness Wife, by Bradford and Vena Angier
Some observations and additional notes:
If the potatoes are excessively starchy, let any starch settle to the bottom before pouring the potato water off from the top. This keeps the syrup clear.
Although Vena Angier’s instructions are to bring the measured potato water to a boil and then add the sugars, stirring the sugars into the cooled potato water and then bringing it to a boil will prevent crystalization when the syrup is cold.