Indian Sugar Camp, 1853, Captain Seth Eastman
Maple Syrup Day
Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
"There is in some parts of New England, a kind of tree whose juice that weeps out of its incision, if it is permitted to exhale away the superfluous moisture, doth congeal into a sweet and saccharin substance."
Time for pancakes and waffles or some maple sugar candy! Maple syrup was first collected and used by the indigenous peoples of North America, who reduced the sugary water by freezing it and discarding the ice or boiling off the water to make maple sugar. Today the Sugar Maple Pie is a seasonal specialty dessert, traditionally enjoyed in the largest syrup producing areas in Canada, Quebec, and the Northeastern United States, Vermont, who are biggest producers of maple syrup in their respective countries. Recipe included: Sugar Maple Pie
Maple Sugar Jig
Maple syrup comes from the sap of sugar maple, red maple, or black maple trees (although it can also be made from other maple species as well).
In cold climates, these trees store starch in their trunks and roots before the winter; the starch is then converted to sugar that rises in the sap in the spring. Maple trees can be tapped by boring holes into their trunks and collecting the exuded sap. The sap is processed by heating to evaporate much of the water, leaving the concentrated syrup. Maple syrup can be boiled further to produce maple cream, maple sugar, and maple candy. Usually a maple tree must be at least 30 years old and 12 inches in diameter before it is tapped. It takes 30-50 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup, and one gallon of maple syrup to produce eight pounds of maple candy or sugar.
Indigenous peoples living in the northeastern part of North America were the first groups known to have produced maple syrup and maple sugar. According to aboriginal oral traditions, as well as archaeological evidence, maple tree sap was being processed into syrup long before Europeans arrived in the region. Aboriginal tribes developed rituals around sugar-making, celebrating the Sugar Moon (the first full moon of spring) with a Maple Dance.
For more on the new maple syrup grading system (especially for connoisseurs who formerly fancied Grade B), click here. And for a recipe for a signature dish from Quebec, Canada, click the Maple Sugar pie!