Maple Sugaring

Spring is taking it’s time reaching the Northland this year. As the snow drifts wander into April, it is at last, Maple Sugaring Time.

And, we’re the keepers of the Sap Map!

We've got the Sap Map.

We’ve got the Sap Map.

One of the truly delightful bits of returning to my home town is the way people eat in the Duluth area. People shop local, have milk men, purchase produce directly from local farmers and buy their fish from the area’s fisherman. It’s comforting to return home and find lifestyles and traditions still in place. That includes Maple Sugaring. 

Maple Sugaring Time

Maple Sugaring Time

I remember watching a film strip in school about the Anishinabe collecting sap and creating treats for their children. Last week a local television station ran a similar piece on the Anishinabe and their traditional Maple Sugaring Harvest.

Maple Sugaring is a big deal here. MPR had a great piece on the joys of cold weather and it’s impact on the harvest.

The other day my kindergartener asked if we could make maple syrup. She gave me a recipe, including a tip to fix a burned batch. “Just add butter.” She said she learned about the process on an episode of Curious George.

It is energizing living in a community that clings to this traditional and sustainable practice. Truth be told, I have never tapped a tree or even tasted homemade maple syrup.

Then one morning we noticed the tell-tale buckets hanging from our neighbors beautiful maple trees just above their snow drifts. To our delight the owners need someone to keep an eye on their operation for a few days.

Our daily check for Maple Sap.

Our daily check for Maple Sap.

We were given a Sap Map of the yard and simple instructions. When the buckets are full dump them in the collection buckets. Eat or toss the ice. Re-hang the buckets. 

The buckets collect the best sap on days when the temps rise above freezing after a night below 32 degrees. Sometimes we only see a small amount. Other times the buckets fill in just one day. So far, we are just seeing a little in the bottom of the bucket.

Maple Sugaring Time

Maple Sugaring Time

Fun Facts:

  • The sap looks a bit like dirty water.
  • Ice often forms in the buckets. The chunks are lightly sweetened water. Either toss the ice or eat it. The good stuff has a lower freezing point and will remain in liquid form.
Toss or eat the ice. The good stuff is underneath.

Toss or eat the ice. The good stuff is underneath.

  • The sap looks like water but will behave like milk. Bacteria can grow and the sap can spoil if not processed quickly.
  • Many believe that drinking maple sap is a way to energize the body after a long winter. ( Keeping an eye on the buckets is energizing too.)
  • Maple sap can also be used to make coffee or tea, brew beer, and in just about any recipe calling for water.

In short, when life gives you a long cold winter… go sugaring.

 

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12 thoughts on “Maple Sugaring

  1. I remember learning about this in 4th grade but I’ve never and the opportunity to see it in person. You definitely pointed out some interesting facts that I had never heard though! How neat!
    Danielle recently posted…Final Chance for 15% Off at Little PassportsMy Profile

    • Thanks Danielle! Isn’t .great? Something as simple as Maple Sap can still get us talking.

  2. What a difference between where you are at and where I am at, Florida! I can’t believe it’s still snowing that much somewhere, we have been having beach weather for over a month. Not to brag or anything 😉
    Jenna Brussee recently posted…Easter Egg Activities for ToddlersMy Profile

    • I know that weather well Jenna. We just relocated here from SWFL Florida. It’s a great place for sun and surf, enjoy!

  3. How cool is that! We do not have anything like this by us.. sounds like you live in an area where things are nice.. in NY things can get a bit crazy.

    • Trust me, we have plenty of crazy weather here too. We just do our best to make the most of the mild weather when we can.

  4. First time ever I heard about mapple syrup was when I read the Little House in the Prairie by Laura Ingals as little girl. I always wanted to try it and see for myself how it’s done. I have tried a store brought variety but never been able to witness it myself. Wish I will be able some time.

    • I think I saw that episode Joanna. We’re not too far from Little House on the Prairie country. My husband calls me “Ma” when I get into my crafting frenzies:)

    • I hope you do too. If you have a great recipe, we’d love to give it a try.

  5. Pingback: Maple Apple Sauce -

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