Maple Sugar

Photo blog day 186, February 15, 2011

I suppose it is too early to be looking for signs of spring but I simply can’t help myself. I feel like we’ve had such a long winter when the skies are such a deep blue and sun shines so brilliant I feel like spring is right around the corner. We had the start of some warmer weather yesterday, though I can’t expect it to last. On my way home from work I saw our neighbors took advantage of the 40 degree weather to get a jump start on this season’s tapping. This is one of the very very early signs that winter is coming to a close in New England.

Last year we collected sap on our own and made some delicious maple syrup and maple candy. The process is tedious but the result cannot be compared with any syrup you buy in the store. We were so excited our fist day tapping trees that we collected some of the sap in a pot, poured it through a paper coffee filter, then boiled it for tea. It was already sweet enough that we needn’t add sugar and it was fun to giggle and pretend we were “in the olden days”. Our syrup tasted backwoods and rustic as we used a wood fire to boil it down. Our neighbors, with these fancy cans, also have a fancy evaporater. They truly embrace the Maple Sugar season by collecting every day and storing the sap until the end of the season (usually 5-6 weeks) and have a big boiling party.  As a child, my family would take a trip on a weekend out to one of the Maple Sugar Houses and we’d have maple syrup on snow. This is simply hot syrup poured out in strips on a layer of snow. Then you take a Popsicle stick and press it to the end of the strip and slowly roll the tacky strip of syrup around the stick. It is such a treat. My favorite maple treat of all time is Whipped Maple. As the sap is boiled and turns to syrup, once it reaches a certain temperature (right before it thickens into syrup) you remove it from the pot and whip it until it is aerated and fluffy. The texture is so smooth and light.

I’m not sure we are going to tap our trees this season, as I mentioned, it is a lot of work and since our neighbors are doing it maybe we’ll just buy some syrup off them. This year is about simplifying and there is nothing simple about Maple Syrup except that it is the best thing, by far, that anyone’s ever put into a jar.


One comment on “Maple Sugar”

  1. What an interesting post! I learned a lot and loved the photos.

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