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Thursday, 19 January 2017 13:43

Fresh snow is a main ingredient

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Pouring hot syrup into fresh snow will create a caramel-like texture - use a popsicle stick to roll the strand of candy into a lollipop on the stick. If you leave it for a longer time in the snow, the texture will become more like taffy. Pouring hot syrup into fresh snow will create a caramel-like texture - use a popsicle stick to roll the strand of candy into a lollipop on the stick. If you leave it for a longer time in the snow, the texture will become more like taffy. File photo

I've been contemplating the snow lately. I much prefer it over ice. I also like snow peas and snow crabs and snow apples. Like me, you might wonder how these edibles got their name.


   Well, snow peas are the early variety, hardy enough to withstand a late sprinkling of snow. Snow crabs are really spider crabs, and I have to say, I'd rather eat a snow crab. Spider doesn't sound quite as appetizing. Perhaps the snow crab is so named because it is primarily harvested in the far north where snow is a common feature, or perhaps it is simply good marketing.

The snow apple, I just found out, is a more interesting story. The tree is a winter-hardy variety and one of the oldest known. Plus, the flesh is pure white - snow white, you might say.
The snow apple was the most cultivated apple in Quebec, Canada, for more than a 100 years. But then something happened - a disease perhaps - and the snow apple, at least the Quebec strain, disappeared.
Don't despair: You can still find the snow apple. Nature Hills, an online garden center, describes it thusly:
The Snow Fameuse Organic Heirloom Apple, Malus domestica 'Snow Fameuse,' is one of the oldest and most desirable dessert apples, a parent of the aromatic McIntosh. ("Fameuse" means "famous" in French). It is a very old and attractive red apple brought to America in the 1700s by early French settlers.
Sometimes called the Red American or Royal Snow Apple, the Snow Fameuse apple is medium-sized with smooth greenish-yellow skin that is mostly covered with a deep red blush and lighter red striping. The flesh is tender, has a spicy, distinctive flavor, and "snow white" like its name suggests; has an occasional crimson stain near the skin. Fameuse is a very hardy tree variety, so should do well in cold climates.
Now, if I?had snow crabs, snow peas and a couple of snow apples, I'd be inclined to cook them all up.
What I do have is snow, and I like snow, just plain fresh snow. And did you know, snow can be a main ingredient when making candy. If we get a fresh batch, even better.
You need real maple syrup, made from tree sap, not the fake pancake syrup that is made from corn syrup.
If you are a "Little House on the Prairie" fan, you might sense something familiar here.
In Laura Ingalls Wilder's book "Little House in the Big Woods," Laura and her sister get their first taste of maple sugar candy. Here's the passage:
"Here, Laura and Mary," Pa said, and he gave them each a little round package out of his pocket.
They took off the paper wrappings, and each had a little, hard, brown cake, with beautifully crinkled edges.
"Bite it," said Pa, and his blue eyes twinkled.
Each bit off one little crinkle, and it was sweet. It crumbled in their mouths. It was better even than their Christmas candy.
"Maple sugar," said Pa.


Maple syrup snow candy

Start with an 8-ounce bottle of pure maple syrup to try it out.
Pour the maple syrup into a small pot and bring to a boil and cook until it reaches the "soft ball" stage (235-240 F).
Remove the pot from the heat, and pour your syrup in lines on clean, packed snow.
Press a popsicle stick into one edge of the syrup and roll it up around the stick to form a lollipop. If you don't have any sticks, break the candy into smaller pieces once it cools..

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