Friday, March 29, 2013

Its Maple Syrup Time

Well, its the sweetest time of year again.

And here is the song to go with it.  Click to listen, while you read....




Maple Syrup Time-Pete Seegar


When the village library decorates its windows with buckets, jugs and sweet books.......



Tis now the season for buckets on trees..........


  and trees full of buckets.



Tucked away in the mountains and hills are sugar shacks that are gearing up for making maple syrup.

Sugar shacks come in all sizes, configurations and colors.


They are hidden in the woods and on hillsides.  Some look like little cabins.



Others are more portable, obvious and easier to get to.


 I found this one right on the side of a main road and it was sucking down some maple sap from the trees above. I could hear the motor running.


Some sugar shacks look like something out of a story book with everything in miniature.


This new shack doubles as a bus stop shed for the kids.



Very cute and in just a week or so there will be steam coming out of the top of every sugar shack in the state as the sap is boiled off to make delicious sweet maple syrup.
There is a full weekend of Open Sugar Shacks where everyone gets to sample, maple candy, maple coffee, hot dogs boiled in maple sap, maple ice cream, maple butter on maple bread.... the list goes on and on!


Maple trees are one of my favorite trees in the forests. Their spring time buds are the first I see every year. They shade us in the summer, provide shelter for many birds nests and turn beautiful colors in the fall. The sweet sap is a bonus.

It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of Maple Syrup.

It also takes a lot of wood, labor, time and patience for it all to come out perfect.

This past weekend some friends and I went to local sugar house during the BIG Maple Open House Weekend.

Although no one was boiling sap yet, because the daytime temperatures were too cold to do so, we still got a full tour.

This particular sugar house was a very modern metal building.

 They had big trucks to collect sap.


 Inside there was the required Vermont Syrup grading kit.


 And a new reverse osmosis machine to extract the most sugar possible from the sap



and a huge double decker vat to boil it all in.

Stainless steel from one end of the building to the other.


 
Here is a view of the16 filters that maple sap must go through, to remove any "impurities."


This is where the final product of Maple Syrup is bottled by the wife of the sugarmaker.



After our grand tour we were treated to raised donuts and warm maple syrup.

A crock pot kept the fresh, sweet syrup at a perfect temperature.

This year I decided not to have the maple coffee as I was awake for 3 days and nights from the affects of it last year.

So instead, I had 2 donuts and a lot of maple syrup.



I literally danced out of there.

Of course no visit is complete unless you go home with a gallon or so of the sweet stuff!



 My favorite maple syrup treat is vanilla ice cream with maple syrup and a few sprinkles of cinnamon on top.
I also like to put the syrup in my coffee and in my milk.

What do you like your maple syrup on or in?

Got some in your kitchen ?
~

9 comments:

  1. i sure wish i had some of that. nothing is as good as maple syrup!

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  2. I love to use maple syrup in the granola I make, cake batters,over bananas sauted in butter, glazes & grilling marinades for chicken & pork, icings & my favorite maple syrup pecan scones. I never thought about putting it in coffee, but will be trying it tomorrow AM. The ice cream sounds wonderful too.

    I know many people consider genuine maple syrup too expensive or feel imitation products are just as good, I disagree. After looking at all the time, epuipment costs, man hours, etc. that go into making a single gallon, I would expect it to be priced higher than it currently is. How can you put a price on that distinctive exquisite taste experience, Also buying US made maple syrup is a great way to support our economy and ensure that this product continues to be made here in the USA.

    Thanks for sharing all the sugar shacks - what a variety. I teared up when you talked about the fresh doughnits & coffee at the end of your tour. The only thing missing was the smell.

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  3. I always have a 1/2 gallon jug in the fridge. My favorite way to have it is on Giffords Vanilla ice cream.

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  4. Here's a tidbit: Pete Seegar mention Scott and Helen right at the beginning of the song. That would be Scott and Helen Nearing. They had a sugar bush at their Vermont home in the late 1940's. They wrote about it in The Maple Sugar Book (1950), in addition to the history and how to's. Here's a link:

    http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/the_maple_sugar_book:paperback

    They developed an ingenious system for getting the sap to the house, pre-tubing. If you are looking for some cool quotes on sugaring, there's dozens in the book.

    I did look to see if it was included in the books your library was displaying. Here in Western Mass the season has been very extended this year but is nearly over.

    And yes, we have some in the fridge, but very local, made here in town, not Vermont. :))

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  5. WOW! I feel completely submerged in the maple syrup experience and I'm not anywhere near Vermont ;)

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  6. wow i loved that donut with the syrup! we had a great time making syrup this year - what an adventure. but we are all about tapped out. enjoy all that loveliness!

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  7. My brother made maple syrup for the first time this year and I've never tasted anything like it. To die for! Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week!

    Cheers,
    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick
    http://www.The-Chicken-Chick.com

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