Monday, March 18, 2013

Is the Sap Flowing?

And other questions...

Maple sap doesn't flow just anywhere. New England is well suited for maple syrup production in the late winter/early spring because of cold nights and warmer days, which keeps the sap flowing up and down the sugar maple trees enabling the sap to be harvested.

Imagine my surprise to learn that maple syrup is harvested in January as far south as North Carolina. You can read about that *here,* if you are interested.

I've chatted a fair amount about maple syrup season in this blog. I've even lost an entire post on the topic. (This blog is getting to be so cumbersome.) I don't know if that was the post describing my grandparents working in the Sugar Woods in New Brunswick, Canada, or not. Their time there was considered a working vacation every March. I've always loved the wonderful old stories about the maple sap being so bountiful that all vegetables were cooked in the sap and there was no reason to drink water because everyone drank the cold, refreshing sap instead. (Remember: Maple sap is not maple syrup. It takes a whole lot of maple sap to boil down to get the sweet syrup.)

Once I asked my neighbor if I could drink some sap because of that old story. He happily obliged. I didn't quite get the thrill of it, though I might have if it had been very cold. As I recall, it was a warmish day so the sap was warm having sat in the bucket in the sun.

I was so happy to see the trees tapped (on my next door neighbor's lawn) when I arrived home from church yesterday.  The people who harvest the sap in my town have had a serious setback with the loss of their home to fire in recent weeks so I had thought they'd have bigger things than maple syrup production on their minds.

Now please go see this picture at Daily Yarns 'n More...you won't even be able to tell Judy you were there because she closes comments early on her older posts.

Nice wasn't it? Such beautiful photography!

And, yes, my ice cream was delicious! (Caramel Caribou at Giffords: caramel swirled in flavorful vanilla with chunks of chewy chocolate throughout.)

Love Vee

37 comments:

  1. Question...

    Your next door neighbor is tapping... A local family which usually taps, had their house burn down, so you thought tapping wouldn't be high on their agenda.

    Do you mean, that you next door neighbor's house burned down??????????????????????

    I don't think so, but....

    "Auntie"

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    1. No, the people who do this business of sap gathering tap all over town.

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  2. I love looking at the trees when they are being tapped for maple! I just visited your friends blog, looks great & I'll be back when I have more time to comment! Why does she close her comments on her posts?

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    1. Perhaps it is due to spam...not sure...I have had to moderate all comments older than a day due to spam myself.

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    2. It is because of spam that I do. I was getting upwards of 50 a day and a blogger suggested to close them early. I will open them up again and see how that goes.

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  3. Good morning! this was soo interesting. I know NOTHING about tapping, maple sap, or maple syrup (other than I love it of course!) at all. Enjoy your day!

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  4. That ice cream looks delicious! I'll have to try it if I can find it here.

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  5. That was a beautiful photo of the sugar bush and so is the one of your ice cream cone, even if it was really cold outside. I'm sorry you lost the blogpost about your grandparents sugar bush experience as it would have been interesting to read. Where do these things disappear to anyway??? Sunny today, cold north wind and -11C. Getting so tired of this winter and the rest of the week sounds very wintery with more snow. Sigh.... Have a good day Vee!

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  6. Lindsay tapped a few of our trees one year. Maybe we'll have to try it again next year.

    Yummy ice cream! We enjoy ice cream year round in our house.

    Hope you have a delightful day.

    Deanna

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  7. Maple syrup being made right here in NC?? I never would have guessed it. Just read the article... very interesting.
    I enjoyed reading about your maple syrup memories. I would have also enjoyed reading about your grandparents working in the Sugar Woods. What a shame that post has been lost.
    Mmmm... your ice cream cone looks and sounds delightful.

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  8. I'm off to follow the link....but on my...that ice cream looks amazing! Enjoy your day my friend!

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  9. That was a beautiful photo on Judy's blog. That scoop of ice cream on that cone looks real good!

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  10. This was a delicious post!
    I think I had better get some breakfast now.
    :-)

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  11. Glad you got your ice cream. I haven't had any for a while.
    I think I'll put my forsythia wreath my my front door too. : )

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  12. The sugaring season is one of the few things I miss from the east. At this time of year I long to get out to a sugar bush for some of the new syrup. Many service clubs have pancake breakfasts during this time and there's nothing that tastes better than hot cakes, fresh syrup in the cold, open air!

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  13. Oh Vee, I would love to taste fresh real maple syrup. I buy it, of course, always looking for the elusive "Grade B", but it just has to be extra special getting it from a neighbor. So many antioxidants, too. Your ice cream sounds so good. Lobster roll and ice cream cone, two must haves when (notice I said when, not if!) I get to visit Maine. xo

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  14. Vee, Thanks for the lesson on making maple syrup!! We don't have any of that here...I would love to see it done though! That ice cream looks so delicious!!

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  15. We got to taste it and see it being made into syrup on a trip to Vermont before we moved to the west coast. What an ordeal for syrup! It's a wonder it doesn't cost as much as saffron!! The ice cream looks delicious, XOXO

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  16. So glad you documented your ice cream for us all! What a delicious combination of flavours.

    Since you live in maple sugar country, I have a question for you - in our grocery store I noticed maple syrup (expensive) and organic maple syrup (ultra-expensive). How would organic differ from regular? Are the trees fertilized in some way? Or is this just a marketing ploy? Maple syrup is just maple sap boiled down.

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    1. Gosh, I have never heard of organic maple syrup. How can it get any more organic? I'll see what I can discover on that.

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    2. I wonder if they're considering that if you use a de-foamer it's not organic. We don't use any de-foamer when boiling our sap so I wonder if that's considered "organic".

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  17. Thank you for new (to me) info about maple sugaring. I had no idea that it was made anywhere as far south as North Carolina! When I have some time, I'm going to do a search on your blog to see what else you've written about maple syrup.

    (I also love the stories about maple sugaring in Little House in the Big Woods! And there is a children's book by Kathryn Lasky in which she chronicles the process with text and photos. I told you I have a fascination!) :)

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  18. Awe Vee, thanks for the kind words and link to my blog. People too are amazed that sap is actually clear and not the color of syrup :)

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  19. I don't know how well the sap is flowing these last few days - too cold I think - but, "maple sugaring" is huge here in our area. Many Mennonite farmers here still harvest the sap with horse and sleigh! We have a huge local festival the first Saturday in April - Elmira Maple Syrup Festival, and this is their 49th year!!! Wish you all could come - it's amazing!

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  20. Ah, that was a lovely photo that Judy captured! And I am having to wipe up my keyboard from the drool after seeing the ice cream pic, LOL.

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  21. There aren't any Maple trees out here, or at least none that I've seen, so I won't be seeing sap collecting going on here, Vee. I do love a good dark Maple syrup. I think Colorado is known for its grass fed beef and lambs--two things I don't eat very often, and peaches believe it or not --there is a big peach growing region on the western mountain slopes. Someday in the future I hope to go to the peach festival ;)

    Judy's photos was wonderful! I'm missing my good camera but expecting a new one for my birthday so I guess that is a good thing ;)



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  22. The ice cream looks yummy, but cold. (Snow here.) Judy's picture is so sharp that I felt like I was standing next to the photographer. This was an interesting "lesson" about life in a different area of the country. (Sure, we studied this in elementary school, but that was 50 years ago. lol) I enjoyed this. Thanks.

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  23. Once I see ice cream all other thoughts just fly out of my head! Don't tell me how yummy it was, I have a vivid imagination. :)

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  24. I love Grade B maple syrup! Didn't know it existed until Martha Stewart said that is what she uses on one of the OLD cooking shows (perhaps 1990s).

    I used to be able to buy it at health food stores, only Grade A is sold in other stores. It is not as refined but it has a deep, rich flavor.

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  25. Our home is surrounded by huge Sugar Maple trees and the nearby park system does a maple sap and syrup process that is open to the public to view.

    My mother always gave us maple syrup for ice cream when my sister and I were little.

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  26. Beautiful photo of the tapping of tree! The only part of the whole maple syrup harvest I am familiar with is 'consuming' of the end product. That's a good part too!

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  27. I didn't know it was made as far south as NC. Maple syrup season is something we really missed when our family moved south. To this day, I get warm fuzzies every time I eat a little piece of maple sugar candy or taste the really good stuff. My grandmother had a big old maple with a tap in her front yard, but I have to tell you that I have never tasted the sap.

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  28. Well, well, well Vee, I'm so glad you explained it - now I understand!!!
    I really did think that the maple syrup I buy came from a tree - as is!
    I know I cringed when i read that too - but we don;t have these trees where i am.....
    I visited Judy - a lovely photo and words - well worth while thank you!
    Shane ♥
    ps I've done my Note card post, it's almost midnight Tuesday here so I'll have to check in again tomorrow!

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  29. Beautiful photo! I must tell you I broke down last Sunday ...had a waffle just so I could have maple syrup!

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  30. My email is screwed up this morning and won't let me send.....
    here's what I had written...
    *********************************************************
    So glad you received it...and the chocolate KISSES weren't melted...
    Now, what "special little somethings" are you wondering about...the one for you and the one for John? hahhaaa...they are little packets of something like kool-ade that you lick the candy stick, stick it in the powdery goodness and suck it off...hahhhaaa...they were my grands favorite things in the world to have when they were watching TV....so when I saw them while standing in line, I had to get you and John one. lol

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  31. OK, now I am REALLY looking forward to ice cream again! That looks yummy!!!

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  32. Ice-cream with any kind of caramel suits me.

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