Feeling under the weather today, but my poor health is your gain, because it means I’m home, and can post some pictures I’ve been meaning to get up the past few days. On Monday, we took the kids over to some friends to see them making maple syrup. Now, I don’t think non-Mainers completely understand the passion some Mainers and New Englanders feel for maple syrup. (I include myself in that category.) To me, maple syrup is this cool tasting thing that you put on one of three things: pancakes, waffles or french toast. To some Mainers, maple syrup is the fifth food group. 🙂 They put it on everything from cereal to ice cream. They literally go through gallons of the stuff a year. I am not making this up. And, after now tasting maple syrup on ice cream, I can personally say that these Mainers are on to something–especially when you can make the maple syrup yourself, so it doesn’t cost anything. If only the entire world could consume maple syrup like Mainers do, we’d probably be a much more advanced civilization, free from hunger and poverty and war. Mitt Romney should run on a 100% maple syrup platform next go round. He’d win for sure.
Anyway–for those of you who don’t know where maple syrup comes from, here’s a brief rundown. Maple trees make sap. This is not the sticky stuff you’re used to seeing on pine trees–the stuff that makes it so your hands stick to everything for the next five years. No, maple sap looks pretty much like water. In fact it’s 34 parts water for every 1 part maple syrup. You basically drill a hole a few inches into the tree, put in a little spigot, and drip drip drip comes the sap. You collect all this sap and then boil the heck out of it. For every 35 gallons of sap you boil, you get 1 gallon of syrup. Each tree can make a gallon or so with no harm to the tree. One quart per tap. And now, as promised, the pictures: