top ten tuesdays - tap, tap, tap...

it is maple sugaring season here in vermont - the 6 week event that starts now, just as winter is losing its grip and lasts until mid april when (we hope) that the weather ceases to drop below freezing every night.

lots more to come on this topic in the coming weeks, but for now, i thought we would start with a top ten tuesday (one day late) featuring the top ten reasons to LOVE sugaring season here in vermont…

  1. the romance and ritual - “sugaring is a tradition founded on romance and ritual. the gathering of sap excites native vermonters as they court the maples, determining the precise time to tap and capture the crystalline liquid traveling through its veins. the syrup processing ritual is eagerly anticipated regardless of the hard work and long hours spent laboring over the sugar pots. why? because the maple syrup gathering season is short-lived and often unpredictable due to new england's variable weather conditions."
  2. the woodpiles being put to good use - it's like they wait all winter for this…
  3. the containers - there are soo many to choose from! glass maple leaves, tin jars, gallon jugs, mason jars - all with different logos and designations. oh the decisions!
  4. sugar.on.snow.
  5. the history - maple sugaring has been an early spring tradition ever since the eastern woodland indians discovered that maple sap cooked over an open fire produces a sweet sugar. legend has it that an iroquois hunter returned to his dwelling and found an enticing sweetness in the air around the kettle in which his mate was boiling meat. the fluid in the kettle was sap and had been collected beneath a broken maple limb. to make their sugar, they would cut a slash in the maple tree and collect the sap as it dripped out. logs were then hollowed out, and filled with the fresh sap. white-hot field stones were added to cause the sap to boil. when the first european settlers arrived, the indians traded maple sugar with them and eventually taught the settlers the secrets of the maple sugaring process. how smart were they!?
  6. the smells of the sugary smoke billowing out of the sugar shacks
  7. the treats - pancakes, pancakes and more pancakes. fresh maple syrup is the perfect excuse to indulge in this heavenly breakfast treat (recipes to come this weekend)
  8. the big weekend - The 9th annual vermont maple open house is held at sugarhouses throughout the state march 26-28. this is your chance to visit one or more sugarhouses and celebrate this uniquely vermont tradition. activities include the opportunity to watch maple syrup being made and sampling maple products. (yes, please)
  9. the cooking show - vermont public television’s seasonal cooking special: simply maple. executive chef sean buchanan of the stowe mountain lodge and his guests as they demonstrate recipes featuring vermont’s sweetest ingredient, maple! local chefs and old time sugar makers will prepare their tried and true family favorites. So set your dvr for this saturday, march 6th at 2pm. (repeats several times throughout the month)
  10. the products – there is maple sugar everything! maple sugar candy, maple taffy, maple cream, maple butter and my favorite…the maple cremee.

    tap, tap, tap…sugaring season here we come.

Michelle  – (March 3, 2010 at 5:29 PM)  

Ah, but, does Vermont host a open farm day? Maine hosts Maine Maple Sunday. Our favorite day. Farms that harvest syrup open their sugar shacks to serve maple infused deliciousness....vanilla ice cream with fresh syrup; maple candy; maple scones; you name it. I'd say Maine Maple Sunday is my favorite holiday.

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