Thursday, December 6, 2007

17th Annual Maple Syrup Festival in Indiana

Yum! Make plans to get to Salem, Indiana, for the 17th annual Maple Syrup Festival at Leane and Michael's Sugarbush on the last weekend in February or the first weekend in March.

The menu stars are pancakes or waffles topped with strawberries or blueberries, ice cream, whipped cream and pure maple syrup (sausages optional) and a chicken or pork chop dinner (the chicken is, of course, barbecued with maple syrup!).

There's lots to buy and take home, too, including maple cotton candy! You can watch the syrup-making, participate in contests (like the log-sawing, pictured), listen to traditional music and ride in a mule-drawn wagon.

The dates for 2008 are 23 and 24 February plus 1 and 2 March (Saturdays and Sundays) from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Remember, that's WINTER in Indiana, so wear warm clothing and sturdy boots!

Leane and Michael's Sugarbush is at 321 North Garrison Hollow Road, Salem, IN 47167. Call 'em -- 812:967-4491 or (toll free) 877:841-8851 -- or send an email. There's more information at their website.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

How To Tap Maple Trees and Make Maple Syrup

There's little ambiguity in the "how to" site from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Its bulletin #7036 gives just two paragraphs of history before launching into complete instructions. "A tree should be at least 10 inches in diameter," they caution, "measured at 4-1/2 feet above the ground, before tapping." There's even a bibliography for further reading. Check it out at here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Festival du Sucre d'Erable

Get ready for a sweet time as French Canadian Traditions head west for the seventh annual Maple Sugar Festival 22-24 February 2008 in Nanaimo, British Colombia. Join local residents and visitors for a five day celebration of music, dance, storytelling, demonstrations, and food sampling at Beban Park. After the opening gala at the Port Theatre, the Francophone Association of Nanaimo will present an array of festivities including school shows, the transformation of Beban Park’s Centennial Building into an old time Sugar Shack, and the opening of the indoor beer garden, reminiscent of the old time “Party du Samedi Soir”. Chamber members, dignitaries, guest speakers and the Quebec Maple Region’s delegation will be in attendance. Enjoy delicious maple sugar products, hot maple toffee and frozen cranberry delight or experience the traditional home made Tourtière meat pie and Poutine. Learn the ancient art of tree tapping; be awed by world famous Ice Carvers demonstrating their incredible talents or sit back and take in the sound of folk and contemporary music from some of Canada’s best performers. It’s a must see, hear and taste experience! Friday (4-9pm), Saturday (9-9pm), Sunday (9-4pm). Admission by donation until 5:30 pm (suggested donation of $2). Check it all out here!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

"The Tang of Ginger and the Bite of Pecans..."

There's a hint of fall in the air -- the perfect season to bake a maple syrup cake. Here's a good recipe from The Recipe Corner.

In case you were wondering, Light Muscovado Sugar has a warm honey color and creamy fudge flavor. It's a British term for light brown sugar.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The fungus in my maple syrup

Kathie Hodge writes about an uninvited guest at her morning breakfast in the Cornell Mushroom Blog. "As I poured maple syrup over my son’s waffle, Plop! A perfect dime-sized fungus colony spilled out to crown that waffle like a malevolent pat of butter," she writes.
"A fungus that can grow in maple syrup is not your average everyday mold, it’s a xerophile. Xerophiles grow in places that are too dry and hostile for your average fungus. OK, maple syrup is wet, but it’s also extremely high in sugar. All that sugar has the effect of pulling water out of cells, and the vast majority of fungi can’t grow in maple syrup at all."
"...[M]aple syrup typically has a water activity of about 0.87 to 0.88, pretty hostile to most molds. Only a few xerophiles can live in it, including our surprise guest, Wallemia sebi."

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Real Maple Syrup Pancake Feed

If you're in the vicinity of Hancock, Iowa, on the morning of 18 August, swing by the Botna Bend Park (42926 Mahogany Road) for the annual "Real Maple Syrup Pancake Feed" between 8:30 and 11 a.m.

Back in March, the Pottawattamie Conservation Foundation tapped the park's enormous maple trees and boiled down the sap to make this delicious treat. Grilled pancakes will be served with sausage, orange juice and coffee.

Cost? "Free will donations accepted."

There's more here and here, or call 712:741-5465 for more information.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Maple Syrup and Poutine

Now, here's a food blog that this Maple Syrup Maven just loves!

Maple Syrup and Poutine celebrates Canadian cuisine (and, we all know what Canada's favorite sweetener is!).

The photo? That's poutine. (French fries topped with fresh cheese curds and covered with hot acquired taste, they tell me.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Maple Syrup is Good For What Ails You

Well, we know it, but it's nice to have the scientific research to back up our anecdotal evidence that maple syrup is a health food.

According to the website of the George Mateljan Foundation, "Maple syrup is sweet - and we're not just talking flavor. Maple syrup, as an excellent source of manganese and a good source of zinc, can also be sweet for your health."

Besides, the site reports, "Maple syrup is not a commonly allergenic food and is not known to contain measurable amounts of goitrogens, oxalates, or purines."

The George Mateljan Foundation is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to provide unbiased scientific information about how nutrient-rich "World's Healthiest Foods" can promote health and energy.

Monday, June 11, 2007

What gene sequencing means to you – and maple syrup

It may seem counter-intuitive, but the strategies for sequencing human genomes have application to (of all things) maple syrup production. You can read all about it here.

This is merely an excerpt of the "Science Friction" column by Stephen Strauss:
"The generalized warming that Canada — and particularly the major syrup producing regions of Quebec — have experienced already seems to have shortened the sugaring-off season by several days in some areas....
"The logical thing to do would be to begin to plant stands of new maple trees in a line heading northward — but at the same time, try to apply scientific agriculture to the replanting....
"But to do this one would need a large base of genetic research already looking for these traits in maples. This doesn't exist....
"Moreover, what better way of saying that this country takes the need to adapt to climate change seriously than to initiate a genome mapping project on the literally iconic maple tree and its potentially endangered sap?"

Saturday, June 9, 2007

"Treasure from the Sugar Shack"

"...[M]aple syrup was the only sweetener known on this continent until honeybees were introduced into the colonies in the 1630s."

Read more about the history of maple syrup at New York Folklore.

There's a recipe for Maple Johnnycake there, too.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Maple Bacon Cupcakes with Maple Frosting!

I was going to adapt this recipe for this site, but -- it's so kick-ass I didn't want to change a word.

Go here and get ready to make the most mind-blowing cupcakes ever!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Maple Candy Making

The New England Maple Museum has scheduled a session on maple candy making from 10:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. Wednesday (27 June).

Visitors to the museum in Rutland, Vt., will also be able to sample the final product fresh from the mold.

For information, see the website or call 802:483-9414.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Vermont Maple Syrup Uses

Although the website claims they're uses for VERMONT maple syrup, we suspect that syrup from other locations is just fine!

Check it all out here.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Maple Syrup Fondue

Maple Syrup Fondue

One-half cup of maple syrup
2 cups of 15 percent light cream
2 teaspoons of corn starch
2 egg yolks

Heat the syrup for about five minutes. In a bowl, mix the corn starch with 2 teaspoons of cream. Heat the rest of the cream until boiling. Gradually add to the syrup. Mix with the eggs and the corn starch. Heat until it becomes thick.

Serve with fresh strawberries and other fresh fruits.

This recipe (and the photo, above left) is from Burlington Free Press, published there on 28 April 2007. The recipe is credited to Suzanne Rochette.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

March is Maple Syrup Time in Michigan

Yes, your Maple Syrup Maven knows its May already, but -- (which boasts that it's all Michigan all the time) has a great list of links about maple syrup making in the state here.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Maple may be a medical marvel

By Teresa Lake
Capital News Online
Vol. 20 No. 5
Mar. 30, 2007
A publication of Carleton University's School of Journalism

For most Canadians, the tapping of maple trees means spring festivals and sweet treats. But for Canadian scientists, the flowing maple sap means the source of green products made from biopolymers.

Complete article is here.

Friday, May 11, 2007

What you need to know about maple syrup

The real thing:

First, let's get straight what maple syrup is not. Maple syrup is not 'pancake syrup'. Pancake syrup is merely corn syrup flavored with artificial maple extract. Maple syrup is not 'maple-flavored syrup,' made usually from corn syrup, this time flavored with small amounts of pure maple syrup.

Real maple syrup is nothing more than the sap of the sugar maple, a tree found in a region stretching from New England up to Eastern Canada. Every spring, between March 1 and mid-April, a time when daytime temperatures rise into the 40s and nights remain cold and sap starts to run, trees throughout this region have been tapped. The extracted sap is then boiled down -- way down -- to burn off water and concentrate the sugars. The sap, which is about 3 percent sugar when it leaves the tree, cannot legally be sold as maple syrup until it has been concentrated to 66 percent sugar. It takes 40 gallons of sap to produce a single gallon of syrup. No wonder the real stuff is so pricey!

Syrup can be, and sometimes is, produced from other native trees: hickory, elm, sycamore, and birch, among them, as well as other maples. But the sugar maple reigns supreme, as its sap is both more plentiful and higher in sugar than any of its arboreal competitors.

Maple syrup is graded according to density, color and flavor. The grades have nothing to do with purity or sweetness. All maple syrups have the same sugar concentration. Grade A is considered table-grade syrup. You'll find it classed either as light amber, medium amber or dark amber. This is what you drizzle on pancakes, ice cream, oatmeal, etc. Grade B syrup generally comes from trees tapped later in the sugaring season, when the sugar content of the sap has fallen by about half and must be boiled longer and concentrated further. The result is darker, thicker syrup with a more intense maple flavor and distinct notes of caramel. Grade B is best reserved for cooking and baking.

SOURCE: Scripps Howard News Service

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Flipside of maple syrup as it wows gourmets

Down-at-home, reliable Canadian maple syrup is getting a modern make-over as it woos gourmet cooks in such recipes as Peking duck and creme brulee proving it's more than just a topping for plain pancakes.

Inspired by producers keen to shed old cliches and supported by restaurant owners, butchers and confectioners eager to find new culinary uses for the sticky treat are pioneering a new food trend.

Read more here.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Using Maple Syrup To Make Bioplastics

Researchers in Canada have discovered that maple syrup may aid in the production of bioplastic. It turns out that a form of bacteria called alcaligenes latus has a sweet tooth, and behaves particularly ravenously when exposed to maple sap and syrup. Researchers found that the bacteria not only thrive when added to maple syrup, but also transform the sugars in the sap into a family of natural polymers that can be used to make plastic-like materials that are biodegradable – everything from "green" food packaging to drug-delivery films that dissolve harmlessly in the body.

"We're not talking about plastic to replace the petroleum industry, we're talking about biopolymers with unique applications in the food and medical industry," says Jalal Hawari, a senior researcher at Canada's National Research Council.

The implications, he adds, are potentially enormous to an industry with vast potential for expansion and far more supply than it can sell.


Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Weather deals tough blow to maple syrup season

Hank Peterson of Londonderry shows samples of the grades of syrup produced at his sugar shack in Londonderry last year. ( staff file photo by Bob Hammerstrom)

Maple syrup production is almost wholly dependent on the weather, and the past season was not a particularly good one, reports

“It wasn’t terrible, but not good, either,” said Ben Fisk of Ben’s Sugar Shack in Temple.

He made about 770 gallons this year but should have made more.

“I should have made a thousand,” Fisk said. “It got too warm, and then it got too cold. It was just up and down too much.”

Maple producers throughout the state had varied results during the season, with the majority harvesting about two-thirds of an average crop, according to the New Hampshire Maple Producers Association.

Read more here.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Wisconsin ranks fourth in U.S.

According to Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources, the state ranked fourth in the nation as a producer of maple syrup in 2006, with 360 producers tapping sugar maple trees and boiling the sap down to produce 100,000 gallons of syrup, accounting for nearly 7 percent of national syrup production.

“Maple syrup production is a tradition in this area dating back for centuries, when Native Americans established sugar camps in the spring to tap trees,” says Derek Duane, director of the DNR's MacKenzie Environmental Education Center. “It is still very important to Wisconsin, which is reflected in the sugar maple being designated as the Wisconsin State Tree.”

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Bakers put maple syrup recipes to the test

Entries came from as far away as Chicago for the Wakarusa (Ind.) Maple Syrup Baking Contest held 21 April. Omar Hershberger (left) took first place in the cookie category. (Photo by Justin Cripe/Goshen News Staff Writer)

Recipes can be adapted to use maple syrup by using 1 1/2 cups pure maple syrup for each cup of granulated sugar and adding 1/4 teaspoon baking soda for each cup of maple syrup used. When maple syrup is substituted for all the sugar in a recipe, reduce the amount of liquid used by one-half. If maple syrup is substituted for half the sugar, reduce the liquid amounts by one-fourth.

Read all about it here.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Maple Syrup and Global Warming...?

"I hate to keep harping on the "global warming" subject, especially since there are so many questions that can't be answered. Such as, how much of this warming is natural, and how much caused by humans and industry? But I keep coming across evidence that the environment IS changing."

so says Larry Caplan, an extension educator-horticulture with the Purdue University Cooperative Extension in Indiana.

Read the whole blog post here.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Maple flakes as food additive?

A Canadian maple syrup manufacturer is introducing a new line of maple flakes, designed to add flavor, sweetness and texture to products such as baked goods and cereal.

According to Decacer, its maple flakes have a similar sweetness profile to sugar, but also convey a distinct maple taste.

Read the whole artilce here.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

It’s Maple Syrup Time, So Why the Whiff of French Fries?

The Energy Challenge
"It’s Maple Syrup Time, So Why the Whiff of French Fries?"
The New York Times
Published: April 28, 2007

Some maple syrup producers are using used vegetable oil instead of heating oil to boil their sap in an effort to help the environment....

Although there is no such thing as a typical season in the sugaring business, 2007 has been genuinely freakish, shattering all the expected patterns. The sap started running late but then seemed never to stop. When many thought the season was over, and some hapless sugar makers had already pulled out their taps, an April cold snap started the sap flowing again.

Complete article here.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Amazing Maple Syrup Battery

Scientists at Saint Louis University in Missouri say they've come up with a version of a fuel cell battery that can run on almost any source of sugar, from flat soda to tree sap, according to Wired magazine's blog.

The researchers say their battery gives three or four times more electricity per charge than standard lithium-ion cells. Their prototype version is a stamp-sized cell that runs a calculator, but the technology could easily by upsized to power mobile phones and laptops.

Commercial versions could be ready in three to five years.
As an added bonus, all the materials in the battery are biodegradable. “It demonstrates that by bridging biology and chemistry, we can build a better battery that’s also cleaner for the environment,” said electrochemist and project leader Shelley Minteer.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Vermontville Maple Syrup Festival

Arts & crafts, a queen contest, a parade -- and, of course, pancakes with maple syrup -- are all promised at the annual Maple Syrup Festival in Vermontville, Michigan.

That's an old billboard (pictured, above)! This year's dates are 27, 28 and 29 April!

If you'd like to know more, check the website, or call 888:482-4780 or 517:726-0670.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Warm Winters Upset Rhythms Of Maple Sugar

Published: March 3, 2007
The New York Times

One might expect Burr Morse to have maple sugaring down to a science.

For more than 200 years, Mr. Morse's family has been culling sweet sap from maple trees, a passion that has manifested itself not only in jug upon jug of maple syrup, but also in maple-cured bacon, maple cream and maple soap, not to mention the display of a suggestively curved tree trunk Mr. Morse calls the Venus de Maple.

But lately nature seems to be playing havoc with Mr. Morse and other maple mavens.

Warmer-than-usual winters are throwing things out of kilter, causing confusion among maple syrup producers, called sugar makers, and stoking fears for the survival of New England's maple forests.

''We can't rely on tradition like we used to,'' said Mr. Morse, 58, who once routinely began the sugaring season by inserting taps into trees around Town Meeting Day, the first Tuesday in March, and collecting sap to boil into syrup up until about six weeks later. The maple's biological clock is set by the timing of cold weather.

For at least 10 years some farmers have been starting sooner. But last year Mr. Morse tapped his trees in February and still missed out on so much sap that instead of producing his usual 1,000 gallons of syrup, he made only 700.

More here.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Maine maple syrup has international flavor

Staff Writer
Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel
published: Monday, April 16, 2007

TOWNSHIP 6, RANGE 19 -- Sap, like the tide, waits for no man, and Martin Lariviere works as he talks at his family's sugar camp in late March.

"Yesterday, it didn't run too much and we stopped at 1:30 a.m.," he said.

When the sap is running at something like full speed, Lariviere and his two brothers, Pierre and Fabian, sleep only about four hours a night, eating in shifts to make sure that none of the precious liquid is wasted.

Read more here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Maple Syrup and Sugaring in Western Massachusetts

Places to watch sugaring and buy maple syrup in Western Massachusetts are highlighted here in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Maple syrup goes 24/7 in Vermont

"In Vermont, where mountains are green and the cheddar is sharp, maple syrup isn't just about slathering on pancakes anymore.

"That's the view, anyway, of Steve Wheeler, who with his wife and an MBA degree taps 5,700 maple trees in northern Vermont, where syrup season is in its final stretch.

"Demand for syrup is increasing, and one Wheeler theory for the rise is the proliferation of TV cooking shows, which have inspired consumers to be more adventurous."

Read the rest of the article by the Boston Globe's Chris Reidy here.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Maple syrup gives one sweet lesson

The Associated Press

"KUTZTOWN, Pa. - The sweet odor of maple syrup wafts through Celeste A. Ball's room at Kutztown High School.

"Ball doesn't teach a cooking class, and there are no pancakes on the griddle.

"She's the school's agricultural science teacher, and the aroma is just an added pleasure in a lesson on the fine art of sugarbushing. That's country lingo for tapping maple trees and turning the sap into that tasty topping that ingratiates a stack of hot cakes."

Read the whole story here.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Global Warming Comes to the Breakfast Table

"After the warmest January on record, maple syrup producers in Ohio were surprised to have recently discovered premature maple tree buds. Budding of maples at this early date is unprecedented and means that, for the first time in living memory, there will be little or no maple syrup from the trees of Northeastern Ohio this year."

So says Laurie David (pictured) in The Huffington Post.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Maple syrup producers call for end to Quebec's quota system

Rolland Urbain (right), second vice-president of the Quebec maple syrup marketing board, inspects the quality of this year's sap run on his Ste. Julienne maple farm, which is in the peak of the sugaring off. Photograph by : Montreal Gazette/Marie-France Coallier

"Hundreds of the 7,300 maple-farm operators represented by the province's syrup marketing board are challenging a quota system introduced to manage the harvest that was worth a record $180 million last year," writes Mike King, CanWest News Service, in the Montreal Gazette, today.

Read more about the dispute here

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Maple syrup harvest down, again, in Ohio

The news isn't any better in Ohio. According to John Horton, a reporter for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland:

"The state's "sweet season" started late and ended early, leading to another off year for Ohio maple syrup producers.

"Yields fell below expectations at many local sugaring operations, with some reporting only half a crop, according to those in the maple industry. Some forecast statewide harvest figures to come in as low as 60,000 gallons, about 20 percent below the 15-year average.

"Lately, though, so-so seems normal: It has been six years since the last good sugar high, according to agriculture reports."

Read more here.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

New Hampshire's first rite of spring

"March is maple sugaring time in New Hampshire. This uniquely North American natural phenomenon Nature is not restricted to the calendar like school vacations, holidays or town meeting day, but is dictated solely by day-night weather changes. Cold nights in the 20's followed by warm days when the temperatures go up into the 40's, absent a chilling wind, are the requirements for the sap to run.

"Our sugaring season can begin in late February and run into early April and even stop in between. Although sugaring season does coincide with mud season, no one knows how long the season is going to be until after it's over."

Read more at the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension Service website.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Maple sugar slump in New Hampshire, too

The Sugar Shack in Barrington, NH.

"The maple sugaring season is drawing to a close, and at least one producer who took part in the recent N.H. Maple Weekend seems less than satisfied with this year's results," writes Jackie Ricciardi in SeaCoastOnLine.

"Ken Gowen, owner of The Sugar Shack in Barrington, said a good year would bring in about 600 gallons of maple syrup. So far, the Shack has produced only 130-140 gallons."

Read the whole article here.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

ABC TV agrees: Vermont too warm for maple syrup making

"Vermont Maple Syrup Hard Hit by Climate Change," says Bob Jamieson of ABC News. "Warmer Temperatures, Shorter Winters Could Move Industry North to Canada."

Read more here.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Warmer world puts squeeze on U.S. maple syrup

By Scott Malone
Fri Mar 23, 2007
LUDLOW, Vermont (Reuters) - In the seasonal rhythm of New England, March marks the start of sugar season, when farmers tap thawing maple trees for their sap. But some worry that a warming climate is endangering their future.

Complete article

Friday, April 6, 2007

Maine defines "maple syrup"

According to Business Week, Maine has decided standards for maple syrup.

"As Maine's maple sugar season wound down, Gov. John Baldacci signed legislation to clarify the legal definition of "pure maple syrup" to help consumers decide whether they're getting the real thing.

"The new law sets standards on how much sugar must be in syrup in order for it to be considered pure. It took effect immediately upon the governor's signature Monday.

"The bill was advanced by the Maine Maple Producers. The Maine Farm Bureau said the new standard helps to protect Maine's maple syrup industry.

"Maple sugar producers say that if there's too much sugar in syrup, it can crystallize shortly after sale. The new law helps to ensure that when someone buys "pure maple syrup," that's what they're getting.

"The new law will more closely regulate the import of products labeled "pure maple syrup" into Maine, said Jon Olson of the Maine Farm Bureau.

"Vermont, the nation's No. 1 maple syrup producer, has rules similar to Maine's new standard. Maine is the nation's second-largest maple syrup producer."

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

A bit about the "maple syrup diet"

It doesn't work.


Well, we all sort of knew it was too good to be true.

Read the sad details here.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

The Migrating Maple?

"Lately, sugar maples have become the polar bears of trees. Their unbeatable fall color and delicious syrup have always given the trees iconic status, but now, like the bears, they're objects of sympathy. As with the bears, their habitat is shrinking as winters grow warmer."

Read the whole thing at Slate.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Stuffed Buttercup Squash

Stuffed Buttercup Squash
courtesy of University of Minnesota's Ag Extension Service

4 buttercup or acorn squash
1 large apple, chopped
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup raisins
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup maple syrup

Preheat oven to 400° F. Wash squash. Cut tops off and scrape out seeds and strings. Bake face down on baking sheet until squash is tender when pricked with fork. Combine remaining ingredients in saucepan and heat gently until well blended and soft. When squash is done remove from oven and fill cavities with filling. Pour a little maple syrup over each top, just to moisten and return to oven to heat through.

Friday, March 30, 2007

World's Largest One Day Maple Festival!

"Come, taste the tradition" at Elmira Maple Syrup Festival in Elmira, Ontario, Saturday (31 March).

They start serving the pancakes at 7 a.m.!

If you can't make this year's festival, mark your calendar for next year's dates: 5 April 2008.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Mmmmaple Cake Recipe

Maple Walnut Cake

3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup (use the darker for this recipe)
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Cream butter and sugar; beat in maple syrup. Add vanilla and eggs, beating until mixture is smooth. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to first mixture alternately with the milk, beating well after each addition. Stir in walnuts. Pour into 2 greased and floured 8-inch round cake pans. Bake at 375° for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.

Maple Frosting

In a saucepan, cook 1 cup maple syrup until a soft ball forms when a small amount is dropped in cold water. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks are formed, but mixture is not dry. Slowly drizzle the syrup into the beaten egg whites, beating all the while. Blend in 1 teaspoon vanilla and a pinch of salt. Beat until frosting is desired consistency.

This recipe is adapted from Diana's Kitchen.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Sunderland Maple Syrup Festival

Ontario residents are planning to attend this weekend's Maple Syrup Festival in Sunderland.

Scheduled events include a bed race and pancake eating contest as well as sugar bush visits Saturday (31 March) and Sunday (1 April).

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

"Discover the Sweetness of Spring"

The 60th annual Maple Festival in Meyersdale, Pa., concludes this weekend, 28 March - 1 April.

In addition to the usual "sweet" events, there's a horse pull, quilt contest and more.

"Legend of the Magic Water" (pictured, at right), dramatizing the discovery of the sap-to-syrup cycle, will be presented at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday (28, 30 and 31 March).

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Classic Maple Glazed Ham

4-6 pound fully-cooked ham
Whole cloves (about 30 or so)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon prepared mustard (preferably Dijon-style)

Preheat oven to 325° F.

Insert cloves into ham.

Bake uncovered 1-1 1/2 hours until temperature reaches 140 degrees.

While ham is baking, combine brown sugar, syrup and mustard; spoon over ham during the last 1/2 hour of cooking.

Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Geauga County Maple Festival´s Coming Up!

From 12-15 April, there´ll be events aplenty at the annual Maple Festival in Geauga County, centered on Chardon, Ohio.

Pancakes in the park, bathtub races, queen contest (that's the 2006 queen, Kristy Morris, at left), maple syrup auction, lumberjack competition, carnival rides, grand parade, battle of the bands -- it´s hard to think of anything that´s been left out.

Oh -- they´ve been sugaring on the square for a few Sundays now, but there are two more: 25 March and 1 April 2007.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

American Maple Museum

The American Maple Museum was founded in 1977 to preserve the history and evolution of the North American maple syrup industry.

American Maple Museum
P.O. Box 81
9753 State Route 812
Croghan, NY 13327

For more, check here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Ontario Maple Cake


1 lemon cake mix (white cake is fine too)

19 oz (540 mL) can unsweetened crushed pineapple
1/4 cup (50 mL) Maple Syrup
Mix these two ingredients together and set aside.

8 oz (250 g) Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) milk
1 Tbsp (15 mL) Maple Syrup
1 package lemon or vanilla instant pudding
Cool Whip

Mix cake mix and bake as directed on box (use an 9 X 13 inch pan or larger). Immediately when the cake is baked and removed from the oven spread the pineappple and 1/4 cup (50 mL) of Maple Syrup over the cake.

Let cool for at least one hour.

Beat Philadelphia cream cheese in medium size bowl and blend in milk, maple syrup, pudding until real smooth. Spread over cake and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Top with Cool Whip and drizzle Maple Syrup over each serving. This cake can be made the day before.

Recipe from Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Making Maple Syrup

“The process of making Pure Maple Syrup is much the same today as it was hundreds of years ago. Sap is obtained from a group of maple trees and the water removed until the proper density is reached.”

There’s more where that came from at ”How Maple Syrup is Made” on the Maple Producers of Connecticut website.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Glooskap and the Maple Myth

Michigan Maple Syrup Association offers this version of how people began making maple syrup.

Many, many, many years ago the Creator had made life much easier for man. In fact, in those days the maple tree was filed with syrup and all man had to do was cut a hole in the maple tree and the syrup dripped out. One day the young prince Glooskap (known by other names in other tribes) came upon a village of his people that was strangely silent. There were no dogs barking, no children playing, no women minding the cook fires, and no men getting ready to go hunting! Glooskap looked and looked and finally found everyone in the nearby maple grove. They were all lying at the bases of the trees and letting the sweet syrup drip into their mouths. Even the dogs were enjoying the syrup. “Get up, you people,” Glooskap called. “There is work to be done!” But no-one moved.

Now Glooskap had special powers, and he used these powers to make a large bark container. He flew to the lake, filled the container with water and flew back to the maple grove. When he poured the water over the trees it diluted the syrup so it was no longer sweet. ”Now, get up you people! Because you have been so lazy the trees no longer hold syrup, but only sap. Now you will have to work for your syrup by boiling the sap. What’s more, the sap will soon run dry. You will only be able to make syrup in the early spring of the year!”