The original North American sweetener, the sweet nectar of the gods, liquid gold for your tastebuds. Whatever you like to call it, Maple Syrup is a North American tradition in both creation and consumption.
Oral stories vary from Native American and First Nations peoples on the discovery that the clear liquid from tapping maple trees could be boiled to become a sweet treat and integral ingredient for future generations. But, it is known that it was Native Americans in New England that would introduce European immigrants to the tradition of tapping trees, collecting sap, and creating maple syrup in the process called “sugaring.”
The season can vary in start date and length each season, but generally trees are tapped in early February and sap begins to flow when temperatures are 20-30F at night, and over 40-50f during the day. The sap flow can last anywhere from 7-20 days long, during which aluminum buckets, plastic bags, or rubber pipes are used to collect the clear liquid that resembles water. After the sap is collected, it is boiled at an extremely high temperature with a wood-fired evaporator located in what many call their “Sugaring Shack”. The evaporator reduces the sap at a 40/1 ratio, creating a very concentrated, sweet liquid called Maple Syrup.
Many people in both Canada and the United States continue the tradition of tapping maple trees around their property, whether deep in the woods, or along their driveway, to collect maple sap, and create their own batch of maple syrup. With deep snow remaining from winter storms, snowshoes help keep folks afloat while they are tapping trees and collecting sap throughout their property.
A Romp to Stomp volunteer and Stratton Mountain employee, Leah C., shared a few photos of her and her husband, Harold, in the process of maple sugaring in Vermont.