December 17, 2012

National Maple Syrup Day

“I happen to know everything there is to know about maple syrup! I love maple syrup. I love maple syrup on pancakes. I love it on pizza. And I take maple syrup and put a little bit in my hair when I've had a rough week. What do you think holds it up, slick?” - Jeremy, “Wedding Crashers”

It's National Maple Syrup Day!

I'm from a region of the world that makes a lot of maple syrup. When the sap is running the heaviest, we have "Maine Maple Sunday." It's held on the last Sunday of March, and it's an opportunity for folks to explore sugar houses to learn about how maple syrup is made. Usually there's live demonstrations, free tastings, wagon rides, live music, pancake breakfasts, etc.

It became so popular that other states now celebrate their own Maple Weekends, too.

... so why is National Maple Syrup Day in the middle of December?

Who knows, right? More importantly: who cares? Maple syrup is awesome anytime of the year!

Back in the 17th century, the colonists adopted the process of tapping, harvesting, and boiling the sap of a maple tree into a thick syrup from the Native Americans. Some maple trees have been tapped for over 150 years, which makes sense since only roughly 10% of all sap is collected each year. And, it takes between 30 and 50 gallons of sap to make just one gallon of syrup.

(My sister did a project on maple syrup when she was in school... it's a good thing I helped her with it, eh?)

And now you're all the wiser, foodies.

We got our first major snowstorm here in Maine, so I thought the perfect way to celebrate today would be by making maple taffy, a.k.a sugar on snow... which is maple syrup poured directly on fresh snow and eaten (it feels like clouds in your mouth, weird description, but it's true!). Try it sometime: bring the maple syrup up to a boil and then drizzle it on the snow!

Happy National Maple Syrup Day!