bourbon barrel aged maple syrup

If there is one thing I didn’t have enough of as a kid it as maple syrup. I honestly can’t ever recall having the real stuff until I was an adult. I certainly never had it at a restaurant. My favorite thing to order on vacation for breakfast was always french toast, so I had a lot of syrup during those trip, but never the legit stuff. Now as an adult I have come to learn that real maple syrup is a magical elixir that is one of the most tasty things ever created on this planet. I love it all, especially the really dark, grade B stuff – now normally referred to as Grade A Dark Amber. So how can you possibly improve on it? Many maple syrup makers are finding a way – aging the syrup in bourbon barrels!

I first saw this concept at Trader Joe’s. And now I am beginning to see it pop up more and more at different stores all over the place. More and more people are starting to age their maple syrup in bourbon barrels. It is definitely is a new trend, I expect see more of.

How Does Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup Taste Different?
This process of aging the syrup in bourbon barrel really enhances the flavor of the maple syrup. It has a richer, more complex, smoky, butterscotch-like flavor. It is all done without adding any additional ingredients to it, just put the syrup in the barrel.

The first one I ever tried was made by Droscha Farms out of Mason, Michigan. I found their syrup at Whole Foods Market. It was the perfect thing to use a gift card I had on. Besides the Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup they also sell a Vanilla Cinnamon Infused Maple Syrup and a Tahitian Vanilla Maple Syrup. You can purchase their product directly from their website.

I found a wonderful video online that goes more into the process of how this syrup is made. The video was made by Bissell Maple Farm. Their family has been doing maple syrup in Ohio since the 1800s.

It’s more than jut putting maple syrup in a barrel. You need the right barrel. Bissell uses white oak barrels that were used as bourbon barrels. Then they chose a specific maple syrup that has the right strength to create that balance of flavor you get from barrels. You don’t want the maple syrup to have too strong or too weak of a maple flavor. For example, the maple syrup I got from Droscha Farms is a medium syrup. Enough maple flavor to play well with the flavor picked up while in the barrels.

I recommend picking up a bottle if you find it one of your local grocery store. Yes it’s going to be more expensive than your normal maple syrup, I would let the kid just go crazy with it at the breakfast table. The higher cost is to be expected as it takes time for the syrup to age. What they say is true – time is money! In this case, spending more of your money will bring a better product to your table.

May 2016 Produce Printable

in Printables

May Printable Preview

Hello, my name is Donna, Eric’s wife! I have been helping out with Eat Like No One Else behind the scenes since day one. Each month we collaborate on a project for passionate planners! For those who don’t know, there is a big wide world of people who LOVE paper planners and decorating them for beauty and function. Be careful, once you taste and see, you might become addicted like I did! I host a large and rapidly growing group on Facebook called Happy Planner Free Printables to Share . We are a community of creators who enjoy making stickers and decorations for our planners that can be printed out and affixed inside.

I will be creating a special kit for each month of the year that will include a list of the best produce to buy during that month at your local grocery store or farmer’s market. It is sized specifically for the Happy Planner by Me and My Big Ideas (You can purchase the Happy Planner by clicking here) but it can be used for a wide variety of paper planners on the market. This document can be printed and cut out for you to use in your planner for free! To get the free download link all you need to do is sign up for the Eat Like No One Else email subscription below. You will be sent a confirmation e-mail. Confirm your subscription and then click continue to our website for the page where you can download the printables. I hope you all enjoy this new project, I know I had fun creating it. Happy Planning!

This month’s planner printable has a garden theme including a complete set of kawaii fruit and veggie stickers. Your planner will be ready for garden season in May. Included at the end of the printable are 4 seed packet tags, perfect for laminating and adding in your garden to mark where you’ve planted!

Type in your e-mail to sign up for the email subscription to receive free printables for May 2016 –

Here is more information about some of the features in this month’s printable –

What Part of a Ramp Do You Eat

Ramps
Asparagus
Red Velvet Apricots
Spring Snow Peaches

When Does Rhubarb Season Begin (and End)?

in Fruit & Vegetables

Rhubarb Sprouting

Rheum rhabarbarum. What we call rhubarb. It is the thing of which pie makers dream about. They love paring of this tart vegetable – although for legal purposes is it considered a fruit – with berries – especially one with the name “straw” in them. Rhubarb is not available year round, at least in it’s fresh form. So one needs to know when can I get it and you might also want to know where it is grown.

Hothouse vs. Field Grown
First you need to know that there are two ways rhubarb is grown – in greenhouses or in the field. The hot house grown rhubarb shows up earlier in the year, naturally (or not naturally if it’s grown indoors?). I usually see it in the very early spring or even as early as late winter. Since rhubarb sales go up quite a deal in the presence of strawberries, when strawberries prices deep as they tend to do in March, you will naturally find more hothouse rhubarb available.

Hothouse rhubarb is usually more uniformly red in color. Some say it’s sweet and more tender too.

Field Grown Rhubarb
Most of the field grown rhubarb that is sold in the U.S. is from the Northern U.S., particularly Oregon and Washington. They are well suited to rhubarb production. The first field grown rhubarb typically shows up in late March to early April. Around this time the hothouse grown rhubarb is done, so their seasons may just barely overlap.

If you leave in a northern state you should be able to find it locally. Check your local farmer’s market in mid to late spring. Here in Michigan it lasts into June.

The season tends to slow down in the summer time, as the heat turns up. Rhubarb doesn’t grow as well in the heat. You should see how pathetic my rhubarb plants look in August! However, you may still see it into the summer as rhubarb does store well. You can freeze rhubarb as well for later use.

During the fall, you will be hard pressed to find it. I can’t recall ever seeing it. I don’t think there is much imported rhubarb, outside of maybe from Canada.

Grow It Yourself
Rhubarb is easy to grow yourself, depending on where you live. Those in the North can easily grow it. I never put much attention into my rhubarb plants and they come back year after year. I got the plants from a friend who just quickly dug a spot when I was home and planted them there.

If you live in the South, it will be more challenging. Your best plant transplants in fall, and harvest your stalks through the winter months. When the heat gets going, the plants will die off and you have to plant anew.

Recipes

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Muffins

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Muffins | Every year I can’t wait to make these. I like them better than pie!

Pluot Rhubarb Crisp

Pluot Rhubarb Crisp | Try pairing rhubarb with other fruits. They go well with some sweet pluots (a plum-apricot cross)

Cocoa Metro Belgian Chocolate Milk Review

in Products I Like

Cocoa Metro Chocolate Milk

Ah chocolate milk. Does it get anymore comforting? Even when it’s not great, it’s still good. But when it actually is great, woah. Mind blowing woah! Before I was adult I had my share of chocolate milk, either store brand, Nestle, or whole milk with syrup added to it. While I liked those things, none of ever blowed my mind. Until I was an adult and sought out the best. This past week, I found one of the best – Cocoa Metro Belgian Chocolate Milk from my local Whole Foods Market.

Who is Cocoa Metro?
The company behind this life changing chocolate treat formed out of a love for chocolate. The company founders, Mike and Lizzy are chocolate fanatics. So much so that they planned vacations around promixity to cocao plantations. That is a serious foodie. I have to admit I have planned vacations around food, actually pretty much every vacation I do has something to do with food (ex. trip to California to eat Ojai Pixies off the tree). At the very root of this company is a love for chocolate. Besides the milk, they also offer drinking chocolate, cocoa powder as well as body care product like lip balm and lotion bars.

Why is Their Milk So Good?
Simple. The chocolate. This isn’t like putting syrup in your mouth, this like drinking chocolate. So rich. So chocolaty. Not too sweet at all. Just perfectly good to the last drop (and when you drink this stuff, that last drop comes way too fast). Loved, loved, loved it!

The milk contains cocoa, vanilla, real sugar – not HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), milk of course. In order to keep the cocoa from not settling in a clump at the bottom of the bottle, carob bean gum is added. It makes up less than 1% of the contents of the milk. Carob bean gum also called locust bean gum is dervied from the seeds of a carob tree. It doesn’t add any flavor to the milk and was chosen as an alternative to carrageenan, which some consumers are concerned about. I found a website that I thought did an excellent job explaining each of these in a non threatening, non alarmist way. Read more about carraggenan and carob bean gum.

Back to the fun stuff. This chocolate milk is worth seeking out especially if you all you ever known is store brand or the popular national brands. Cocoa Metro Belgian Chocolate Milk is so good, that a picture of it should appear to the word decadent in the dictionary.

To find Cocoa Metro Belgian Chocolate Milk in your area, check out their store locator. Stores include Whole Foods, Fresh Market, Gelson’s, Sprouts, Bristol Farms, and more.

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I'm Eric. I live in Ann Arbor, MI with my wife, 3 kids, and a flock of ducks. I love grocery shopping, trying new fruits, farmer's market, and traveling.
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