Maple Sugaring

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“When made in quantity – that is, quickly from the first run of sap and properly treated – it has a wild delicacy of flavor that no other sweet can match. What you smell in freshly cut maple-wood, or taste in the blossom of the tree, is in it. It is then, indeed, the distilled essence of the tree.”
-John Burroughs, Signs and Seasons, 1886

“The sugar product of Vermont is so much sought for by speculators that the price of a good article has been on the increase for the past few years, and I think that our interest and the interest of the next generation requires us to be careful of the sugar maple, for it has been proven that there is no better place than our state to make maple sugar and syrup, and we are going to whole world for a market.”
– Lyman Newton, Vermont Agricultural Report, 1886

Ahh– real maple syrup. For some it conjures up children memories. For those of us who live in New England, Quebec, and parts of the Midwest, it is a rite of spring. Called liquid gold, maple syrup is truly one of nature’s finests gifts. Real maple syrup is just that – 100 percent pure maple syrup. (Pancake syrup consists of predominately corn syrup, some manufacturers add up to 4 percent pure maple.)

Native Americans were the first to collect the sweet sap from the sugar maple tree, Acer saccharrum, and use in their cooking. As Europeans began settling in America they too learned the process of tapping maple trees, collecting sap and boiling it to yield maple syrup.

Maple sap is approximately 98 percent water and 2 percent sugar. To make maple syrup, the water has to be boiled off to a concentrate of 66 percent sugar. It takes 40 gallons of sap to produce 1 gallon of maple syrup.

 

Further Reading:
The Maple Sugar Book – Helen & Scott Nearing
Sweet Maple


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