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Monday, January 21, 2013

Authentic Value Chains: Maple Syrup

Unschooling Rules: 
15. If you care about learning, start with food. 
11. Use microcosms as much as possible in learning programs.

New England roads now are dotted with pails, this year put out earlier because of the warm winter.
Text books, lectures, worksheets, videos, and tests all have their place in teaching science and physics.  But real conviction and curiosity tend to come out of real experiences.  While the natural diversity of the real world engaged at an individual level confounds an industrial education system (which prefers the scale and consistency of precanned and prefabricated content), it seems necessary to create the next generation of passionate scientists and engineers.  Here is an example around maple syrup.

Make sure the hole angled downward.
For sap to flow, the temperature has to be above freezing during the day but drop below freezing during the night.
One Drip at a Time
It is hard to cram syrup production.

This has not been a bountiful year!

Adding to the Supply
Straining Out Some Debris
Since the stove is going anyway (or use an outdoor setup)...
....evaporate away most of the water.
Now just add the requisite Richard or David Attenborough monologue.
Here is our recipe for Whole Wheat Pancakes:
  • 1 cup organic whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup unprocessed wheat bran
  • 4 Tablespoons raw wheat germ
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Turbinado sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
As well as our local maple syrup, we use raw milk from a local dairy farm and our own organic, free range eggs. Then, we just put a small amount of butter a hot pan before each scoop of pancake batter goes in.

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