Renana shared a batch with me when we taught a class together at The New York Botanical Garden’s Culinary Kids Weekend last month and they are now a regular snack in our house. They are that good!
Spring has officially begun and I’ve just started to see the leaf buds emerge on the trees in our yard. The cold nights paired with the warm days make this the perfect time for collecting sap from maple trees.
As I thought about a book that we could share about maple syrup my mind immediately turned to Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert. I’ve often used this book with classes I teach because it focuses in such a relatable way on the life cycle of a tree.
The story takes us from the planting of maple seeds to grow a small tree at a nursery that is then purchased and brought to the home of the child who narrates the book. The boy watches the tree grow throughout the seasons. I love that it explains how trees come to be in yards, parks and other planned landscapes – an often complicated concept for kids.
There is only a small mention about how syrup is made, but it is a great companion to any recipe including maple syrup because it makes the connection that plants and trees have so many other purposes than to provide food for us. We can focus with this book on the entirety of the plant and recognize that just a small part of it is something that we consume.
Of course, the colors and illustration of the book are beautiful and wonderful for children of all ages to connect the delicious syrup that we eat to the majestic Maple trees that we find outside.