Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Making Maple Sugar, By Aunt CB

Lloyd made pancakes every Sunday before church. I thought every man did a bit of cooking—I’ve learned better!

He did love maple syrup and I remember tapping sugar maples at home, and boiling the sap down into syrup, candy, etc.

Often, he rented farms for growing some bit of special produce he got seeds for, and one year, there was a sugar bush (a grove of sugar maples) on one. He had a tin worker solder a piece of copper into a pan to fit on our kitchen stove, tapped the trees, and brought the sap home daily in a milkcan.

All day long, Ethel fed the fire, and boiled it down to syrup and stored it. Later, we’d boil it more if desired. This went on for the length of the season, three weeks or more, and we were all getting pretty sick of the ‘sweet’ smell of boiling sap, when it finally came to a close.

That’s not all that came to a close—the dining room wallpaper, newly put up two months before, and barely paid for, began to fall off, strip by strip! The excessive humidity in the air loosened the paste. That was expensive maple syrup!

Some we saved for pancakes—Mom canned it. Some little we boiled down still more to make sugar candy, but what we really loved was to boil it to softball stage and bring a pan of fresh clean snow in. Then, pour the softball syrup in a thin line around on the packed snow, leave for thirty to sixty seconds, and pick it up with your fork. It comes up in strips, and is lovely tasting.


Kathryn said...

Wow! This brought back memories. The trees around my Mom's house in Center Lisle were maple. We tapped them at least one year. The sap was boiled down in the old kitchen on a wood stove. One year, the water lines froze. I remember that we flushed the toilet with maple sap! What a bummer!
Beth and Allen take the kids to a place that does the maple sugering every year as a homeschool outing. They just went last week!
Thanks for the story!

"Eve" said...

CB What a great story. Our family has always loved maple syrup, but being from the city, I never witnessed the process until I lived here in Le Roy.
Bryant and I had wallpaper peel off almost as soon as we had finished putting it up, but not due to boiling maple sap. We did not know you had to size a painted wall before papering! We ended up painting it!!!!

Pat said...

I think one year Mom and Chris tapped the maple in our back yard. I was gone by then, so only heard of it, but what a lot of work!

Pat said...

By the Way, not sure WHAT is up with the comment count--I see four comments, not three!!

Ahh well, the slight hiccups with a free website!