Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Sugaring Off...The Sugar Snow......

The sugaring off was a raucous party in the woods attended by farmers and villagers celebrating the production of the first batch of molten maple sugar from sap and, in effect, the beginning of spring. Sugar season began, as it does today, with a late-winter break in frigid weather. The trees are "tapped" by chopping a slanted notch into the maple bark, driving a gouge into the tree beneath the notch, and inserting a wooden shingle or trough in the gouge. The clear sap drips from the trough into a bucket from which it is collected and heated until it becomes dark, sweet syrup

Maple sugar was also rooted in the heritage and history of the republic. Native Americans pioneered the production of maple sugar. It nourished the nation's earliest white settlers and was the most important household sweetener in the northern colonies as early as 1675. Maple sugar continued to be widely used throughout the eighteenth century when white cane sugar was considered a great luxury. Many believed that maple sugar provided an answer to achieving sugar self-sufficiency and, as part of the overall drive for commercial independence, played a role in forging the nation.

Paintings by:Eastman Johnson, Sugaring Offc. 1861-65
Info. found through Huntington Library
My kids are learning about the history of Sugaring Off. Miss Bri has enjoyed reading about it in The Little House On The Prairie books. This is a delightful book with sweet pictures for young readers.

We are planning our own Maple-Sugaring-Off Party with Baked Maple Ham,New England Baked Beans, Johnny Cakes with Maple, Maple Tapioca Pudding and Maple Sugar Fudge !!!! Come by later this week to see how our party turned out and for some of the recipies we used.

1 comment:

  1. Did you know there are different grades and colors of maple syrup.In the late maple syrup season is where you get the darkest color.The best is grade A and light in color and I believe the most potent and flavorful,if I am not mistaken. Wht camera do you use??? it takes some nice pics. I am playing around with my new CannonRebel.It is sooooo cool.Well we are on spring break this next week so it will be massive spring cleaning ahhh the joys.
    Love ya