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Adventures In Maple Sugaring

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Adventures In Maple Sugaring

Lately, we’ve been having cold (below freezing) nights and warm (above freezing) days — the exact conditions needed for maple sugaring. The change in temperature is what makes the sap rise and spill out of taps into waiting buckets.

I’ve wanted to try maple sugaring ever since I was a little girl marveling at the metal spiles and buckets that decorated the huge maples along our road in upstate New York in early spring. Everything about the process whispered “magic” to me. The small metal taps, the grand old trees, the buckets that appeared mysteriously over night, and most of all, the special “water” that dripped from the stiles and plink, plink, plink-ed into the buckets. This is the stuff Tuck Everlasting is made of…

Maple sap dripping out of the stile by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2011

Now that we’re back on the east coast after a number of lovely years in northern Cali, it was finally time to make this dream come true. I’m happy to report that, unlike so many childhood wonders, the magic of this one has not dimmed with time. If anything, the whole thing seems even MORE magical now that I’ve finally experienced it first-hand.

Two weeks ago, using a drill and a handful of metal stiles from the Accord hardware store, my husband tapped eight maple trees at my in-laws’ house. The sap has been gushing forth ever since. In fact, it came out a LOT faster than we’d expected, leaving us scrambling for bigger containers and rushing to boil down our first batch of maple syrup.

Attaching the milk jug to catch the sap by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2011

It turns out that sap has a rather short shelf-life, which surprised me. So it’s important to gather it often and not leave it sitting around for more than a couple of days, particularly if the temperature is above freezing — or it will spoil.

Within a day and a half, we had five gallons of maple sap on our hands. By the way, maple sap is absolutely delicious as is! You can drink it straight out of the tree and it is cold and refreshing with a slight maple flavor and a mild sweetness. Move over nectar, maple sap is the new drink of the gods. Why some entrepreneur has not yet cashed in on this new superfood health drink is beyond me…

Attaching the milk jug to catch the sap by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2011

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Read more: Desserts, Environment, Food, Lawns & Gardens, Nature, Nature & Wildlife, Outdoor Activities, Vegan, Vegetarian, , ,

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Eve Fox

Eve is the creator of The Garden of Eating, a blog about food--cooking it, eating it, and growing it. She has a legendary love of aprons and can often be found salivating over the fruits and veggies at one of the many farmersí markets near her home in Woodstock, NY. Want even more recipes, photos, giveaways, and food-related inspiration? "Like" the Garden of Eating on Facebook, or follow Eve on Twitter or Pinterest.

44 comments

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1:30AM PDT on Aug 24, 2012

interesting, i haven't tried sugaring but congratulations for trying maple sugaring...

8:43PM PDT on Apr 8, 2012

thanks

12:56PM PDT on Apr 1, 2012

interesting, thanks

4:05PM PDT on Mar 29, 2012

interesting

5:15PM PDT on Mar 26, 2012

Mmmmm yum! I would love to try this some day. When I was a little girl our local health food store sold these amazing maple sugar sweets. I haven't seen any in years and years, but I still remember how delicious they were. Good luck with your experiments!

11:32AM PDT on Mar 26, 2012

Interesting article. Thanks.

11:26PM PDT on Mar 25, 2012

Thank you for this enjoyable article.

7:56PM PDT on Mar 25, 2012

Loving this.

7:44PM PDT on Mar 23, 2012

i love maple sugar and syrup

10:11AM PDT on Mar 23, 2012

Am loving this article.

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