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!”

Thursday, March 15, 2007

"Sweet Talking"

There’s plenty of “sweet talk” on the maple syrup glossary compiled by the Maple Producers’ Association of Nova Scotia.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Maple Festival in Northwest Pennsylvania

The annual Maple Taste & Tour Weekend sponsored by the Northwest Pennsylvania Maple Association is Saturday and Sunday (17-18 March), from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

Ten sugar shacks will be open for visitors. Check the website for addresses and directions.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Basic ABC's of Maple Sugaring

Barbara Mills Lassonde, publicist for the New Hampshire Maple Producers, has a nifty one-page description of how sap can be turned into sugar.

Monday, March 12, 2007

First Tree Tapping

Wisconsinites: mark your calendars for 10 a.m. Saturday (17 March).

The Annual First Tree Tapping Ceremony will be held at the Franz Sugar Bush, 2207 Co. Rd. F, Athens.

The Wisconsin Maple Syrup Producers and Franz Sugar Bush will be hosting, along with Alice in Dairyland, Nicole Reese and the 2007 Maple Queen, Holly Melander participating.

From 9 a.m. until noon, there'll be maple syrup pancakes with sausage, cheese and apple sauce, all you care to eat, at $5 for adults and $2.50 for under 12 years of age.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Collecting the Sap

The sap is collected, drip by drip, in plastic bags hung on the taps on the maple trees.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Sugar-Making in Québec

The Washington Post traveled to Québec to look at this year's sugaring.

"Let the Goo Times Roll: For a taste of maple syrup and traditional culture, follow the snowshoes into the woods", writes WP staffer Cindy Loose in the Sunday (11 March) issue of the paper.

"For travelers, sugar shacking is also a chance to rub elbows with locals and experience the kind of small-town life you might have thought disappeared in the 1950s."

Read all about it here -- at least as long as the link is active!

There also are lists of where to see the sugaring in Maine, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont during the next several weekends left in this year's sap season.

Identifying Maple Trees

Sugar Maple bark, fruit, leaf and twig

There are thirteen native maple species in North America, according to the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association.

While most of these species are probably tapped to some extent, at least by hobbyists, sugar and black maple, along with red maple (Acer rubrum), provide most of the commercial sap.

The association has an online guide to help you figure out which trees to tap (that's where the illustration came from).

Friday, March 9, 2007

Maple Syrup Making in Ohio

Did you know that Ohio ranks either fourth or fifth each year among the twelve maple-producing states in the U.S.?

Check out Ohio Maple Facts for more on midwestern maple!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Minnesota Maple Festival

Vergas Maple Syrup Fest 2007 is 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. in the Vergas Community Center, and is sponsored by the Vergas Community Club.

Vergas, in west central Minnesota, is the home of the world's largest loon, but, really, that doesn't have anything to do with the maple syrup fest!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Vermont Maple Festival's Maple Cookbook

There's "something for everyone" in the cookbook of the Vermont Maple Syrup Festival. Here are just two: "Maple Sesame Stir Fry Sauce" and "Homestyle Maple Barbecue Sauce".

The 41st annual festival is scheduled for 27-29 April in St. Albans, Vt.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Maine Maple Sunday is 25 March

Join Maine's maple producers on 25 March as they celebrate Maine Maple Sunday - the day when sugar makers around the State open the doors of their sugarhouses for the public to join them in their rites of spring - making maple syrup.

Most sugarhouses offer free tasting and a live demonstration of how syrup is produced, from tap to table. Many offer a variety of other treats and activities, including syrup on pancakes or ice cream, sugarbush tours, sleigh or wagon rides, and lots more.

Check the website for a list of participating sugarhouses and enjoy the first sweet taste of spring in Maine!

Monday, March 5, 2007

An Iroquois Legend About Maple Syrup

An Iroquois legend tells of Woksis, a tribal chief, pulling his tomahawk from a maple tree and going off on a hunt. The weather was warm and the gash dripped sap into a bark vessel under the tree. The chief's wife needed water to cook their evening meal, and she used the water from the tree to save a trip to the spring. When the chief neared home, he smelled the odor of the sweet syrup, and when he ate his meal he found the meat very tasty.

All accounts indicate that the Native Americans of the Lake States, southeastern Canada, New England, the Appalachian Mountains knew and used maple syrup a long time before the first European explorers and colonists came to America.

SOURCE: Lewis County Maple Syrup Producers Association

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Warm Winters Upset Rhythms of Maple Sugar

Pam Belluck, writing in the New York Times on 3 March, reports, "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."

To read more, click here.

She focused on the problems in Vermont: "We can’t rely on tradition like we used to,” said Mr. [Burr] 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."

Have you been having difficulties in recent years? How have you coped with the changes in weather patterns?

Everything Maple Debuts

Do you like maple syrup?
Do you spend the autumn patiently waiting for sap season?
Do you tap a few dozen trees in your backyard, then boil the stuff down all day ... just because you can?
Do you like to use maple syrup in your cooking?
Then, this is the site for you!