Drinking Maple

“One person’s trash is another person’s treasure” takes on a new meaning when applied to Minnesota’s abundant forest resources and diverse cultural traditions. When discussing Non Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) with landowners and forest resource users, I like to pose the question: “Do you really know what’s in your woods?” While this is not a case of trash versus treasure, it certainly puts a new twist on a familiar NTFP, Maple Syrup. In South Korea the maple tree is called Gorosoe.  This article from the New York Time’s International Herald Tribune details the South Korean custom of drinking Maple Sap (not syrup) to cleanse the body. Thirst is kept up with salty fish and snacks…I think we could manage that here! The sap sells for $6-7 per gallon!! Sounds like a sweet deal, pun intended, when you consider the fact that it takes roughly 45 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of Maple Syrup. (Maple Leaf photo, Jurveston, CC 2.0) maplestructure1

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Dave's work addresses forest livelihoods, focusing on Tribal traditions and uses. He's based in Cloquet, MN.

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  1. where can the maple tree sap be purchased? Also, do you have a source for GOROSOE in the usa?

  2. Malcom,
    Thanks for the question. To my knowledge there is no Gorosoe supplier in our area, per se. That said, I’m sure that Maple Syrup producers would at least consider selling some of their sap It is a relatively low-cost input and selling it unprocessed would spare them the more costly reduction/boiling process. However, syrup is in high demand of late and producers might be reluctant to let go of their supply of sap.
    I’d start by finding a syrup producer and asking if they might sell some sap. You might also seriously consider looking for a landowner that is open to letting you tap a few Maple trees, or contacting your public land agencies about renting some forest land for tapping trees. Some neighbors and I rented 80 acres of county forest land in northern MN for about 20 bucks. I think we ended up tapping 20 trees on 1/2 of an acre.

  3. Check your backyard, or your neighbors … tapping is simple. There’s plenty of info on the web … you don’t need to buy taps … easy to make your own … just be sure not to “over tap” a tree. There are guidelines on several web sites.