There is nothing quite like the maple syrup time of year, and I have spent more years than I can recall working the sugar bush. Times I will never forget..not easy work, mind you, but extremely rewarding and tasty!
What a blast it was – running lines, repairing breaks, tapping, watching the evaporator, taking-off the syrup and running the old creaky canner. The whole operation is a hoot right down to the moment when that first batch of syrup comes off…man, it tastes awesome when its warm.
There is a certain science involved in any maple syrup operation; from understanding the sap’s sugar content at various times of the year, knowing the colour, taste and density of different grades of syrup, to skills like understanding how to build and maintain the perfect fire to keep your evaporator going steady. Its not as easy as its sounds!
Then there’s moment when the ‘webbing starts’ at precisely 7 degrees above boiling point of water, and your pure maple syrup is ripe for the picking, or pouring I should say.
Old school syrup producers have never used modern gauges and I’m sure never worried about it either. They can read more in the webbing off their ladle than a thousand sophisticated gauges could ever read..now that is science in itself.
The final product, well, it is a thing of beauty and there is really nothing in the world that compares to the taste of fresh maple syrup, or taffy on snow.
Canada produces 90% of the world’s supply of maple syrup(majority from QC) – a statistic we should be extremely proud of. It is a big part of our heritage just like hunting, fishing or the fur industry.
Now get out there and enjoy some pure Canadian goodness!! The forecast looks good for sap to run over the next few days and lets hope favorable temperatures remain long enough for another great season!
I just heard from our pal Ian MacDonald who will be out in the sugar bush this week!