Welcome to Sugar Season! With the waning days of winter comes the prime time to turn sap into maple syrup. How about some fast facts? Maple trees release sap when the trees are below freezing overnight and above freezing during the day. Vermont produces more syrup than any other state in the nation and is responsible for 5.5% of the world’s syrup. Maple syrup is 100% natural and organic, the only ingredient is the sap which is boiled to evaporate the water. For just one gallon of the sweet stuff you’ll need to gather 40 gallons of sap.
Let’s dive right in to the start to finish. The process really starts in the summer as sugar produced from the leaves of the tree is converted to starch and stored within the tree. Spring ahead to the end of winter and that starch is converted back to sugar and trees are ready to be tapped. Tapping involves putting a hole and in the tree to either hang a bucket on to collect sap or string miles of lines connecting all the trees to flow the sap back to the sugar house. Once sap is collected it’s time to boil away. Sap is boiled in large trays over a roaring fire to evaporate all the water and reduce it down to a beautifully golden silky product. The syrup is then filtered and canned into jugs and sold.
A local favorite farm of ours is Corse Farm in Whitingham. They’ve been producing syrup since the late 1800’s! With an annual production of 4000 gallons, they really know their stuff! We recommend stopping in to their showroom for a peak into the process and be sure to take home some goodies!
Aside from the obvious choice of topping a stack of flapjacks, we think maple syrup is perfect in a salad dressing or marinade. What are your favorite ways to use it?