So the syrup season started off a little rocky this year. With a brief glimpse of some warmer temps a few weeks back, we hustled outside and hung our buckets on the Sugar Maple my husband planted as a child. The excitement was short-lived, however, as Mother Nature dropped us back into the Arctic, and our sweet weeping tree became decorated with frozen waterfalls. Thankfully (dare I say it aloud?), we are in the clear, and spring may finally be upon us!
I’d never tapped a tree before, so I did some quick reading, gathered the materials, and we headed outside. Now that the weather has begun to level out, our buckets are filling up! We were so excited to make our first batch of syrup, so last weekend we brought in a little over 2 gallons and started boiling. I kept reading about how you need 40 parts sap to make 1 part syrup, but it didn’t really register until I made that batch.
Holy cow! All that work for such a meager offering! Slightly discouraged, I began looking at other ways of using this sweet elixir, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised! For one thing, it’s very refreshing straight from the tree- many believe that drinking maple sap is an excellent spring tonic, a great way to energize the body after the long, cold winter. Additionally, I brewed my coffee with some and it was delicious! Gently sweet, with a hint of maple. Next, I used it as a broth for turnip stew- loved it! What can I try next? Give me some ideas!
I’m thrilled that we’ve been having so much fun with this experience, however, I hesitate to make more syrup as it requires so much time and product. There’s a local family who produces a wonderful syrup, and to be totally honest- I think we’ll stick with the experiments, and leave the serious sugaring to the professionals! Leonard’s Sugarhouse here in Simsbury makes a beautiful syrup, as well as some addicting maple walnuts, and oh-so-adorable maple candies. I ordered some bunnies and eggs to put in Claire’s basket, I know she’s going to love them! Owner Lori George has shared that drinking the maple water is great for runners, as it can help replace vitamins and minerals that are lost during a good workout.
So if you have a maple tree in your yard, I absolutely recommend giving it a tap or two! I’m always inspired and amazed by the abundance of nourishment available to us in the natural world, and it makes me happy to see Claire develop her relationship with what’s growing around us. And if you’re running low on syrup, give Lori and Ray a call, and tell them we sent you! Happy tree tappin’!