With all deference to Mrs. Butterworth and the Vermont Maid once you get used to real maple syrup there is simply no acceptable substitute. Here in New England pure maple syrup is produced every spring at hundreds of sugar houses throughout the six state region. If you have never experienced the heavenly aroma of fresh maple syrup being made on a cold March day then you are missing out on one of life's simple pleasures.
Maple Syrup comes from the sweet sugar sap, which is obtained from the sugar maple, one of the most beautiful and stately of American trees and very prevalent in the New England area. Native Americans were the first to discover the fact that sap from maple trees could be processed into maple syrup and sugar. While there are no authenticated accounts of how this process was discovered there are several interesting legends that are still talked about during sugaring time. The making of maple syrup is truly an American art and one that is still being proudly passed down from one generation to the next.
New England maple syrup is produced during a short 4 week to 6 week sugaring window from early March into April when the New England nights are cold and the still short days are warming up with the introduction of spring. Make no mistake about it, producing maple syrup is an extremely labor intensive proposition. When you realize that It takes about 40 gallons of maple sap to produce one gallon of pure maple syrup you can understand why this product is so expensive to buy.
Here in New England Maple Sugar Sunday has been a tradition for generations. In most locales Maple Sugar Sunday takes place on the fourth Sunday of March. This is the day when sugar makers around the region open the doors of their sugarhouses for the public to join them in their rites of spring - making maple syrup. For many years my wife and I have travelled to Hilltop Boilers in Newfield, Maine for their annual pancake breakfast. Imagine, sitting outside on a cold March morning devouring a huge plate of pancakes topped with butter and hot freshly made maple syrup. Meanwhile, while you are in line waiting for your breakfast the fine folks at Hilltop Boilers present you with a sort of appetizer---a cup of vanilla ice cream topped with hot maple syrup! Just the thing at 7:30 on a Sunday morning! The first time I had this I thought I had died and gone to heaven! If you have never tried maple syrup as an ice cream topping then you are in for a real treat! Before we leave we make sure we buy lots of syrup for ourselves and as gifts for friends and relatives back home. Yes it is a bit pricey but for us it is worth every penny.
So you see for us store-bought imitation maple syrup simply won't do. We have been spoiled now. There are lots of challenges facing those who live in the Northern part of the country. But RealMaple Syrup up is one way Mother Nature makes it up to us. Very highly recommended!
For an unbeatable late winter, early spring outing (when nights are still below freezing and the days get above the freezing mark), head for your local sugar shack. Enjoy a fresh-air outdoors breakfast of pancakes and sausages covered in melted butter and REAL fresh made maple syrup. For desert, sample a heaping scoop of ice cream with maple syrup topping. Be sure to buy a bottle to take home for after the production season is complete.
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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Maple syrup is a sweetener made from the sap of some maple trees. In cold climate areas, these trees store sugar in their roots before the winter and the sap which rises in the spring can be tapped and concentrated. Quebec, Canada, produces most of the world's supply of maple syrup. The United States is the only other major producer and the leading consumer.
Maple syrup is most often eaten with waffles, pancakes, oatmeal, crumpets and French toast. It is sometimes used as an ingredient in baking, the making of candy, preparing desserts, or as a sugar source and flavoring agent in making beer. Sucrose is the most prevalent sugar in maple syrup. It was first collected and used by Native Americans/First Nations and was later adopted by European settlers.