Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Home-made maple syrup

Here is some very local food, as local as the tree 10 yards from the second floor home office where I'm typing.

For fun, my wife and kids ordered equipment online and tapped the maple tree in our back yard this week. We think it might be a Norway maple, which isn't quite as good as a sugar maple, but still good enough. We boiled about five gallons of sap on our kitchen stove, to get about one cup of syrup, about half of which was heavy with sediment.

If we decide to do it better, we'd need a more precise candy thermometer and some straining cloth. Going further, my irrepressible partner asked the town if we could tap some sugar maples on public land nearby (no) and set up an open fire in our backyard (no).

Still, it's fun to participate in this ancient seasonal ritual. And the little I got sure was tasty over home-made ice cream.

For bedtime reading, the kids and I are enjoying The Sign of the Beaver, by Elizabeth G. Speare. This excellent children's novel describes the cross-cultural friendship between two boys on the 18th century Maine frontier. My kids recognize many things in the story from their own experience: hiking, tracking, trying to identify edible plants, chewing spruce gum (which they didn't like), losing fishing hooks, and now making maple syrup. Next, we'll have to have them kill a bear on their own.


minary said...
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Renata said...

Thanks! We have three maple trees in our yard. I hope I'll be able to try it!