It was very cold last night and the warm sun is now pushing temperatures well above freezing. The sap is flowing!!! Unique to northeastern U.S. and eastern Canada, Sugar Maple and it’s sweet byproducts are as symbolic of March as the arrival of migratory birds. Native Americans taught early settlers about this natural source of sugar, and it soon became a staple. Today, it helps fuel the economy of an entire region.
The classic bucket collection technique shown here on a row of mature Sugar Maples is a disappearing landscape. Commercial operators now use plastic tubing systems and vacuum pumps to collect sap.
One to three taps are usually installed on each tree, the number depending on the size of the tree. A single tap might yield about 10 gallons of sap.
Many “sugar bushes” have been operated for generations; some trees have been tapped annually for over 100 years.
The Rule of 86: Determine the sugar content of sugar maple sap (assume it’s about 2%) and divide 86 by that number. The result, 43, is the number of gallons of sap that must be boiled down to produce one gallon of pure maple syrup.
About 300 natural flavor compounds have been identified in maple syrup. Those chemical components, as well as soils, genetics, weather and date of collection, all contribute to the the unique taste and appeal of this natural, renewable source of sugar.
Edible, delectable gold!!!
Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.