Maple Syrup Making at the A-Frame!

2/19/17






Our neighbors are the sweetest! They came over this last week to show us the Maple Syrup making process and it's been such a joy to learn about and honestly much less intimidating than I imagined it to be. Fifteen gallons of sap were harvested from our trees from the first two days. I boiled up some small batches and the neighbors took some as well. The taps are still on the trees, but as a ratio perspective, I'm learning, is that with most sap which is 2% sugar, it will take forty-three gallons to make one gallon of Maple Syrup! Forty-three gallons harvested, lifted from bucket to bucket to boiling pot to be boiled down.. such a beautiful, ode to slowing down life and appreciating the most simple things. I am so intrigued. 






What a burnt batch looks like! I put the girls down for bed thinking that it still needed a lot longer, and came out to Max flagging out smoke. The house smelt so good. Like, crisp waffles. Haha! I didn't want to share this, but decided to share the whole process from start to finish. I will be scrubbing this pan for days.



Fresh sap. So delicious to drink on it's own too.



Sap officially becomes Maple Syrup when it reaches 66.9% sugar. The magic moment is measured as it's being boiled on the stove and needs to reach seven degrees above the boiling point of water. When boiling sap reaches 219 degrees F, that means enough water has been removed to officially become Maple Syrup. Maple trees actively run sap the best if the tree goes through a freeze-thaw cycle so it is all based specifically on wind, sun and temperature drops. The other reason is that maple trees produce sap best when it is just before the active growing season. Once the trees leaf out and begin to actively grow they heal very quickly and the holes that were drilled dry up and heal over. It's the perfect way to close the chapter on winter and welcome an ode to a coming Spring and this is for sure the first of many more years of a tradition for us as a family! You'll see on the last image that there are many different variations that a Maple Tree can produce in terms of color. SO amazing! 



Same exact process, same property, same timing and collection times, but three different trees! I am completely obsessed with the color variations and grade levels! I wrote about the entire process in detail and the full tutorial in my manuscript for my cookbook coming out next Spring, so I'm hoping you pick up a copy! Happiest syrup season to you! I am so thankful for this process and the beautiful trees that outpour nourishment to us. 


Wild Blueberry Scones!

2/17/17

We celebrated the 60 degree weather today by busting outdoors and devouring these scones together! I wrote outside in the greenhouse and it felt so sunny and warm.  

I would love to hear feedback if you make this and give me a run down on the recipe instructions! I'm working through over 65 recipes for my manuscript and I've had friends and family who have been making them all and keeping me in line, like, Johnna... that doesn't make sense..chop how.. mix how..? So, if you make this, I'd love to hear from you through my Instagram or email and I'm never too proud for someone to write me and ask for clarification! I think there are many ways to bake, many ways to cook, and many ways to view life. I'd love to hear your perspective. 

So, Wild Blueberry Scones with Bee Pollen Confetti!! 





Wild Blueberry Bee Pollen Scones 

1 1/3 cups of all purpose flour 
1 cup bread flour 
6 Tablespoons of raw cane sugar 
2 teaspoons of baking powder 
1 teaspoon of baking soda 
1 pinch of salt 
3/4 cup of whole milk yogurt 
1/4 cup of whole milk or half and half 
1 teaspoon of vanilla 
6 Tablespoons of butter (about a half a stick, room temperature) 
3/4 cup frozen wild blueberries 
One dollop of honey 
One dollop of maple syrup 
1 Tablespoon of Bee Pollen 
1 1/2 cups of oats 

In one bowl. Mix both flours, raw sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, until evenly woven. Add in whole milk yogurt, milk/cream, vanilla, butter, honey, maple syrup, bee pollen and save the oats for last. Once all the ingredients are combined, spoon in the oats gently. Fold in blueberries with a spoon. Place small handfuls in a buttered muffin tin and bake at 375 degrees for twenty minutes. Watch for a browned top. My oven might be on the hot side, so check in at around 18-20 minutes. Sprinkle with a handful of raw bee pollen just after taking fresh out of the oven, so they sink into the warmed parts and latch on. Let cool for fifteen minutes before serving. Serve plain, with fresh berries on the side or a maple whipped cream frosting, then follow up with the handful of bee pollen sprinkles. Magic! 


Whipped Cream Frosting

16 fl ounces (1pint) of organic heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar (sometimes I add a little bit more than this) 
1 Tablespoon MapleSyrup 
1/4 teaspoon vanilla 

Whisk it! Whip it good, in a chilled bowl. Serve! Store the extra in a sealed container in the fridge where it will last around five days or so! 




Pine Needle Tea | Fox Meets Bear

2/15/17


Pine Needle Tea with raw unfiltered honey from the backyard woods and a capful of ACV. My mouth is beyond watering! Pine needles are filled with incredibly high amounts of Vitamin A which aids in maintenance of teeth, bones, soft tissue, white blood cells, the immune system and mucus membranes. (Hello almost end of the tissue season) They have about five times the amount of Vitamin C found in a lemon so, basically a more efficient way to burst goodness inside of you which I am all about. In terms of medicinal benefits, the pine needles, cones, bark, and resin all hold medicinal qualities and potential, as well as the essential oil that can be extracted. The innermost bark can be dried and eaten, and is valued for its high nutrient content, while pine needles can be brewed as a tea or used as an infused liquid in a recipe. Ponderosa, Yew, and Norfolk Pine are all toxic to consume so watch out for those and always be sure to research your region for foraging guidelines and harvesting recommendations! 


Pine Needle Tea | Fox Meets Bear 

Bouquet of Foraged Pine
2 cups Filtered Water
1 teaspoon Raw Honey
Pinch of Salt 
1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar 

Begin with heating the filtered water on the stove at a low to medium heat. Begin with your pined bouquet and separate the needles from the stem, pulling them off in the opposite direction of growth. Make two piles, needles and stems. Take the needles and chop them with a knife or herb chopper like this into one to two inch sections. Place into the water as it just begins to come to a boil. Keep at a lower heat! You want to steep the pine needles, not boil them otherwise they will taste bitter. Simmer on the stove for ten minutes. Add in the pinch of salt which expands the flavor and then turn off the heat and keep covered for five minutes. Strain out the pine needles with a colander or cheese cloth and pour tea into a mug. Stir in the raw honey and apple cider vinegar and sip the woods. 



Its become quite common around here to make this in bulk and store in the fridge for easy access throughout the week for pine smoothies or quick warm ups! Experimenting with pine this week led me to make some really interesting and nourishing recipes that I am super into and can’t wait to add to my cookbook!  Pine trees are more than just pretty to look at there are so many ways to harvest them while also protecting their life. 

 Have you tried pine? Would you try it? It's okay to say no. Do you have access to pine where you live?









I am currently living in the woods with my husband and two girls where I do weird stuff, bake and cook foraged goods and try to be an open minded human. I like to think of myself as a forager of food, whimsy, empathy, imagination, and literally my keys every single day. I'm currently writing my first cookbook titled, “Tales from a Foragers Kitchen!” coming Spring 2018. Come hang out with me over here!
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