Now one of the great American foods, or at least one of the foods I associate with America is maple syrup! Drizzled over pancakes or waffles with bacon and blueberries, all kinds of yum. On a recent visit to one of the country parks we had a chance to look at the maple syrup process. At the end of winter just as the temperature is starting to warm up the maple syrup season is in full force. for a handful of weekends there are a range of sugar camp days, and maple tapping events that demonstrate how this process works, and recruits volunteers to get the trees tapped up to collect the syrup in time.
There are a couple of different methods, tree tapping can involve hanging a bucket to collect sap and emptying every day or two into a large bucket. The sap from the maple tree isn’t very nice straight from the tree, it needs to be boiled down to make the golden syrup we are used to. The sap is clear and almost a bit gloopy straight from the tree.
Another method is to tap the trees and run lines from each tree into a central line that takes it back to a central pot in the sugar house to be boiled and turned into syrup. Kiwi commented that this looked a lot like attaching the trees by man made veins. The woods had a bit of a creepy feeling about them, and as you walked around stepping over or ducking under bright blue ‘veins’ the creepy feeling got worse. It didn’t help that it was a grey day, and the woods were very quiet.
Fortunately there is an abundance of local maple syrup producers, so its great to be able to shop local and now I often use this in substitute of traditional sugar in lots of baking, and of course we often get our waffle maker out to have maple syrup and bacon waffles.