A maple syrup smell that has mysteriously wafted through New York City numerous times over the years has been traced to a New Jersey facility that processes fenugreek seeds for flavorings.
The sweet odor has drifted through swaths of the city off and on since 2005, perplexing New Yorkers and city officials.
— From Blame Jersey! NY maple mystery solved, with thanks to Joe for the link! For background, see here.
Now, now…. no jokes about my native state. LOL
Apologies. But even Jon Stewart jokes about Jersey
Believe me, I joke about it too. It's funny — until the last month or so I had no idea how much flavor & fragrance industry had a foothold in NJ.
NJ always gets the bums rush…. sigh.
Didn't know the frag industry was embedded in NJ, should call my uncle and see what's the scoop!
Almost all the big fragrance & flavor companies have facilities in NJ.
Who's your uncle? It's just that I learned that IFF, Givaudan, Symrise, Firmenich & Mane all have operations there. Never knew.
That is too funny. Only yesterday I was looking at a recipe that called for fenugreek, and I thought “what the heck is fenugreek???”
Now, thanks to the Jerz, I know.
I have to say that I'm glad it's a (presumably) non-toxic food additive causing the weird smell, rather than a toxic something or other.
I almost sent you a link to this story too! I know women who have taken fenugreek for breastfeeding, and supposedly it makes your skin exude a maple syrup smell. I wouldn't mind smelling like real maple syrup, but not that Mrs. Butterworth stuff (which is probably flavored with fenugreek).
LOL — I was quite literally just now emailing that gross factoid to Jessica. And I can vouch for it, since I drank the tea for months.
Agree — rather a happy ending!
That's so cool! I've been fascinated by this and am also glad that it turned out to be something so benign.
And I am giggling about the fenugreek and nursing. I though it made the *milk* smell like maple syrup, not the entire body!
I just saw something on this topic on NY 1 a local news station as I was reading this. LOL.
Hey, that would help fatten babies up too!
It's sort of comical how long it took them to figure it out. That whole town in NJ must have smelled like syrup!
I didn't know there was a fenugreek tea sold — probably because I don't spend time in the nursing mothers section of the health food aisle. Fenugreek is also reported to be good for high triglycerides, cholesterol, and those with pre-diabetes/metabolic syndrome. I'll need to look for the tea. I think I had read somewhere that either in India (Ayurvedic medicine) or the Middle East it was taken infused in milk.
Re: Health benefits, see http://tinyurl.com/c97ul5
Fenugreek is also used in perfumery.
I'm scared to ask in what perfume? “L'eau de syrop”? Or just another fruity, floral fenugreek?
Well what's interesting is that if you chew a fenugreek seed from the spice jar, it's quite bitter. I guess it's heating or toasting it that releases the caramel-ly or maple-y scent/flavor? Not sure how it plays out in perfumery…. Anya?
It's used in Indian cooking, too, in fact, that is how I first knew about it.
Same here. I have an amazing cooked spicy mango “pickle” that uses lots of it.
Ah, you cook! I used to but gave it up for blogging, LOL…
I don't know what commercial perfumes it's used in, but I have used it several times in custom perfumes. It's quite lovely.
yes, it has quite the caramel yummy factor. Also a slight celery note, which compliments jasmine. It has a slight toasted factor, melded with a coumarin and balsamic base.
my town smells like hot dogs. There should be an investigation about that.
I have some on my pantry shelf for Indian recipes (so it's probably ten years old). The untoasted seeds, sort of tiny wrinkly beans, do smell like maple syrup in the jar; perfumers must use them ground or roasted or something.
Mine is probably even older than that
He doesn't work in the industry, his wife is an interior designer so may have contacts.