It’s finally time. If you live in the Northeast, syrup season is here!
Syrup season, or sugaring season, is a short four to six week period when the sap is flowing and the tappers are tapping.
Read on for 10 facts about that precious maple syrup that comes only from syrup season.
1. Syrup season is not about celebrating Aunt Jemima’s syrup, or any other “name-brand syrup.” Aunt Jemima’s Syrup is caramel colored high fructose corn syrup i.e. not maple syrup. Pure maple syrup comes from the sap of a Maple Tree that is at least 40 years of age.
2. Real maple syrup comes from the sap of mostly New England maple trees. Vermont is the greatest producer, or Canada. Last year, Vermont produced 1.3 million gallons of maple syrup.
3. Syrup season starts just after winter begins to fizzle out. Sometimes in late February, the smell of syrup begins to perfume the air, especially near early April. It’s over when you see the spring flowers in bloom as it has very short period.
4. Collecting sap from maple trees is called tapping. Please tap responsibly, trees are living things. A tree, if tapped properly each season, will heal from the previous years’ taps.
5. It takes the sap from two to three trees to make just about one half gallon of pure maple syrup.
6. You can attend a syrup festival – they can be found all around the New England states. Even Connecticut has a few sugar houses, and as does Canada, of course. Just look for local sugar houses and you’re sure to find a festival nearby.
7. You can participate in make-your-own syrup activities at New England sugar houses, while you learn about the art of maple sugaring.
8. Maple syrup is not just for pancakes. You can use it as a marinade for all your meats, or non- meats, as a substitute for sugar in baking, and creative cooking.
9. Maple syrup makes an excellent souvenir. Be sure to refrigerate your pure maple syrup after opening. You may notice some crystallization after opening, rest assured these are sugar crystals and an indicator of authenticity. Have you ever noticed that Aunt Jemima’s syrup never crystallizes?
10. Maple syrup can also be used as a natural skin care ingredient. It is naturally anti-inflammatory and great for sensitive or blemish-prone skin.
Did these facts get you excited to head out for syrup season if you live in the New England area? Share your finds with us on our Facebook!