Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spring in New England

Come Spring Equinox, it's still cold in northern New England; snowy even. We are still freezing our you-know-whats off up here while much of the rest of the country is enjoying new growth on the trees, rising tendrils of green from the dirt, flowering trees and budding plans in profusion in the South & West. This is the most perfect time of year in the desert. The colors turn purple and pink and the cacti flower and desert flowers spring up for an all too brief time.

But up here, it's cold. One sign of Spring in New England is maple sugaring. According to the New Hampshire Maple Producer's Assn., it begins in late February when sugarers tap the trees as they begin to thaw from the cold Winter. As the sap thaws, it runs and tapped trees deposit the dripping sap into buckets. This process lasts approximately 4-6 weeks. The collected sap is then boiled down to a thickened substance we eventually consume as maple syrup. It's not a lot more complicated than that. This is a time honored method and the result: 90,000 gallons of maple syrup from New Hampshire alone!

My father raised my brother and me on maple syrup. He made pancakes every Sunday and served them with real maple syrup. I felt sorry for my friends who had to eat the fake stuff: Aunt Jemima & Mrs. Butterworth. There was no comparison. One of his favorite desserts was vanilla ice cream with maple syrup topping. I still love that. It's such a treat!

For more information about maple sugaring, visit the NH Maple Producers site link above or the New England Maple Museum which has photos & slide shows of current and historical sugaring as well as in depth information on the history of maple sugaring.


Delwyn said...

Where I live maple syrup is very expensive so occasionally when my husband imports a car from Texas he has his buddy there throw a few gallons of it in the trunk... Yum

Mrsupole said...

Today it rained in the morning and it got warmer in the afternoon. So hubby barbequed. It was nice to have two grandkids here for this. We can pretty much do this all year round here in Southern California, but we usually do not in the winter. I think this is to share unity with the rest of the country. My hubby is from Canada and he always only wants pure Maple Syrup. He will not use the fake syrup at all. I can use either one, does not bother me, so I always save the expensive stuff for his use. I hope you get a good deal on it with you being so close to where it is made.

Happy Pancakes Days.
God bless.

California Girl said...

Delwyn: Welcome to my blog! I bet maple syrup is expensive Down Under.

Mrs. S: Maple syrup is still expensive in New England. I am a native Californian and I would send it to Dad each year at Christmas til I realized it was no more out there than here!

Lover of Life said...

We are extremely fortunate to have an investment-banker friend who also owns farms in Vermont. He sends us a half gallon of the real stuff every year. It really is special. Now, see, they are not all bad! :-)

Tanna said...

Man, I am hungry for those pancakes and syrup!! So sorry it is still cold. Will make you enjoy the warmth all the more!

mouse (aka kimy) said...

it sure does take a lot of sap to make maple syrup....but the real deal is so much better than cheap imitations!

by the way, in response to a comment you made to me, you are welcome to borrow any picture on the mouse should you find one that suits your purposes as long as credit is given!

be well!

Seraphine said...

i'd love to try your father's pancakes.
you see, i use mrs. butterworths. lite.
but i've learned the less syrup used, the better i like the pancakes.
i'm willing to be proved wrong.

California Girl said...

Thank you Kimy, I would always ask first.

Seraphine, my father made the best pancakes, light, fluffy, buttermilk.