It’s maple sugaring time. Perfect weather. Cold at night, above freezing in the day. The time of year when the maple trees wake from dormancy and start pumping sap up from roots to revitalize trunks and branches. The time when, from earliest settlement, the maples are tapped and the sap boiled down into delicious maple syrup and sugar.
So, on Maple in the County weekend, we all head out for our annual binge on bounty from the maple. All the maple syrup producers, throw open their doors to welcome us in and ply us with pancakes and sausages, all drowned, of course, in maple syrup and butter. The money we fork over for our breakfasts goes to worthy causes.
Tramps through the sugar bush, sticky children racing and shrieking on sugar highs, maple “taffy” hardened on the snow are all part of the rush. Families emerge out of winter quarters blinking at the sun. The whole county is starting to come alive with the warming season.
In pioneer days, maple syrup and maple sugar were the only sweeteners, which accounts for our vast number of maple flavoured recipes. And if the local First Nations people hadn’t generously shown the newcomers where the luscious sweet came from, they might never have guessed it on their own.
I’ve been tempted to tap some of my own maple trees except that I won’t repeat the disaster of trying to boil down maple sap inside the house. Those who try it spend the following week scrubbing the sticky coat off every surrounding wall and surface.No, I’ll just make my own sugar high last as long as possible and line up enough bottles of maple syrup for the rest of the year. Yum!