Maple Syrup Season

sam_mdMarch 1, 2014

I've been youtubing again. It seems that maple syrup season is upon us. It is not really made around here, one has to go to Western Maryland where large quantities of Sugar Maples grow. One producer says that many barrels are sent to Vermont every year to be relabeled. Wouldn't you be tempted to use Red Maple also? (I would) I often thought that the sap of Cherry Birch would make a good syrup.
Maple syrup & sugar are a uniquely N. American product. After seeing the amount of work involved I don't complain about the price.
Don't like syrup?, how about the countless bowling alleys and gymnasiums with maple flooring? It must be one of our most valuable native trees.
Am surprised that someone hasn't figured out a way to make rum out of maple syrup.
Forget corn syrup, I'll have 100% maple syrup any day.

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When we were on vacation in Freeport, Maine last year, we stayed at a BnB and our host served blueberry pancakes (with locally grown blueberries) and maple syrup she had tapped from the tree in her front yard. It was unbelievably good! Much better than any store bought I have tried with Mrs. Buttersworth being my go to syrup since I was a child.

The BnB was The White Cedar Inn and I highly recommend them to anyone planning a trip. Rock and Monica will take excellent care of you

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 6:58PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Real maple syrup is the best. Most people don't even know what real maple syrup is.

Acer saccharum, and its variants, are among my favorite native trees.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 11:23PM
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I still have some from when I sugared a couple years ago, and still have time to sugar this year, with the protracted frigid weather. It's a heck of a lot of work, and yeah most people DON'T know what real maple syrup tastes like. I have used red maple and even silver maple for sugaring. It doesn't HAVE to be sugar maple, but boy those things sure put out the fluid. I had to change bags several times a day on one of them. I had never paid much attention to what kind of maple it was until a branch broke in a storm and it bled like a stuck hog, for a long........long time and the tree never seemed to suffer for it. So when I decided to make up some syrup, it was the first one we tapped.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 11:37PM
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Don't know if I could find it now, but somewhere I ran across an article comparing maple syrup from A.saccharum to several other Acer species - and to syrup from tapped walnuts. Seemed like syrup from (gasp!) boxelder, A.negundo, received higher marks than 'real' maple syrup - with remarks about a richer, buttery flavor; if only they weren't so trashy...
Not sure of yield figures - it may be that A.saccharum was a heavier producer.
Butternut & black walnut syrup got pretty high marks, too.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 8:06AM
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viburnumvalley(z5/6 KY)

Here's some pretty nice stuff that compares favorably to anything you've tasted.

Had it on my biscuits this morning, in fact...

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 2:36PM
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Here's an interesting article from Cornell about syrup from birch and black walnut.
It appears birch is in fact used for syrup production in Alaska and Canada. In Europe they bottle the sap and drink it like a mineral water.
Birch has much less sugar content than sugar maple so it is much more labor intensive.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cornell Article

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 7:49PM
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VV - glad you liked it!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 5:22PM
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Mmmhhhmmm...maple syrup! Just had some last night on blueberry/chopped walnut pancakes I made. Super good.

It is interesting to hear that about Acer negundo -Box Elder-sap working well. We could tap the hell out of those crudballs! Maybe we'd get a little of that red color in the syrup sap, like the heartwood on box elder. You guys must have seen that, right?

In any case, all tree sap has as one of its key aspects, the carrying of sugar from place to place within the plant, so it should be no surprise that species other than Acer saccharum should work for this, albeit pehaps some not as well.


ps...........A friend from long-ago days, grew up poor on a ramshackle farm. His dad wanted to do a little of everything, but the methodology wasn't always the tightest. They'd tap trees out in the sugarbush, bring the sap into the saphouse, and boil it down, just like you're supposed to. So what was wrong you ask? Old tires were burned as the fuel to boil the sap down!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 2:13PM
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