All across the northeast and upper midwest, folks have been yearning for warm days followed by cold nights to start the flow of sap in the sugar maple trees. The finest syrup will be made from sap that flows during the coldest weather, and the sap will produce darker, more fully flavored syrup as the temperatures warm into spring.
As you can see by Itzl's concerned look, this group is for us to check in at to let people know we are alive, doing OK, and not affected by such things as heat, blizzards, floods, wild fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, power outages, or other such things that could keep us off DKos. It's also so we can find other Kossacks nearby for in-person checks when other methods of communication fail - a buddy system. Members come here to check in. If you're not here, or anywhere else on DKos, and there are adverse conditions in your area (floods, heatwaves, hurricanes, etc.), we and your buddy are going to check up on you. If you are going to be away from your computer for a day or a week, let us know here. We care!If you'd like to be part of the Itzl Alert Network, please leave a comment asking to join, or send us a message asking to join. We'd love to have you. The bigger our network, the less likely someone will be stranded all alone.We have split up the publishing duties, but we welcome everyone in IAN to do daily diaries for the group! Every member is an editor, so anyone can take a turn when they have something to say, photos and music to share, a cause to promote or news!Monday: BadKitties
Ok, we have a current diary schedule. If you would like to fill in, either post in thread or send FloridaSNMom a Kosmail with the date. If you need someone to fill in, ditto. FSNMom is here on and off through the day usually from around 9:30 or 10 am eastern to around 11 pm eastern.
While it is still possible to collect sap in a bucket from each individual tree, if your trees are on a hill you can use gravity and a vacuum pump to collect the spring sap for you.
Large flat pans speed up the evaporation process. It takes about 50 gallons of maple sap to make a gallon of syrup. The sap is like water with a slightly sweet taste. The first sap run will have a very delicate maple flavor, with later runs producing darker syrup with stronger maple flavor.
There are government standards for density and sugar content. Canadian syrups must contain nothing but 100 % maple sap. Quebec produces most of the syrup used today, but there are many family farms with sugar shacks all through the Great Lakes and New England regions. Each state will have it's own standards for syrup.
If you love the maple to be strong in your syrup, choosing a darker grade will satisfy your desire! For cooking with maple, you can get the great maple flavor without adding as much sweetness (from the sucrose in the syrup).
In addition to the traditional pancakes and maple sugar candy, folks use maple syrup to make cooked desserts, maple snow cones and ice cream sundaes.
It takes many at least 30-40 year old maple trees to produce the fifty gallons of sap, and lots of energy to boil it down into a syrup. If trees are well treated, they can continue to produce for a hundred years. The bigger trees may have several taps, but in different locations from previous tapping. Farmers must slog through the chilly woods to tap the trees and collect the sap, then process it carefully to get a pure and quintessential North American favorite. Maple syrup season is a sweet transition from winter to spring, and it is finally here!