Wednesday, March 2, 2022

My Second on the Second is About Food

Hi everyone. Happy March 2. 

Today is Food Wednesdays over at Kathy's blog, Hummingbird Studio at the Lake where we share a food related post. It is also  Second on the Second over at Bleubeard's and Elizabeth's blog, Altered Book Lover Blog where we share a post we have already posted at some time in the past.

To join these 2 challenges,  I am sharing  2 older posts from March of 2018, both which have to do with a seasonal specialty that is in full swing right now in the Northeast of the US. It is Maple Syrup season. This is the time that the maple sap runs, and that sap carries the sugars which make maple syrup so yummy.  

I'm not sure exactly when in the spring other places (that have maple syrup season) start their sap season and of course, even though you can make syrup from some other types of hardwood trees, you can only make maple syrup where maple trees, especially sugar maples, flourish.

Here's a journal page I had created showing some trees being tapped. I can't join Valerie's spring challenge at Art Journal Journey because my page has been posted before, but this is a sign of spring here in New Hampshire. 

And I know some people can't use a lot of Maple Syrup because of its sugar content, but other than sugar, it does have some nutritional value.

These first 2 photos are from a post on March 16, 2018. (Sweet Friday).

 I live on an unpaved gravel road in the woods. My road is about 3 miles or just under 5  km long, with a few scattered houses on it. There's also a lot of land that is part of the Society of Protection of New Hampshire forests so it is not developed. Yet on my road there are 2 "industries": a sugar shack where maple sap is collected to make maple syrup and also we have a small microbrewery on a private small scale farm. 

Today let me share a bit of sugar making with you. These next photos come from March 26, 2018 (Maple Weekend). I had been out walking that morning and stopped by to see what was going on in the sugar shack. 

Here's the sugar shack. It used to be more rundown, but then it was leased from the land owner to a couple of "guys" who  fixed it up and now use it for maple sugar production.

These big tanks hold the sap collected from sugar maple trees. Unlike in my sketch where buckets are hung from metal taps hammered into the trees, the new way is to use this blue piping so the sap runs directly from the trees into the collection tank. Then it is piped from the tank into the sugar shack, where it is processed in maple syrup.

The small process/old fashioned way to process the sap is to keep a wood fire going under your steamer. It heats the maple sap and gets rid of much of the water in it. You can see it steaming away. What you are then left with is your maple syrup.

Then the maple syrup is drained into these cans. It take 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup.

It is then bottled to sell or even dehydrated even more to make maple sugar.

My daughter's fiance's parents have a sugar shack and tap the maple trees on their property. There's been some talk we might go out there and spend a day helping them do some sap processing. I think that would be fun, but we'll see if that happens. The season for sugaring isn't very long because it only happens when there are cold nights and slightly warm days (but not too warm as the trees stop running sap then). 

That's it for me today. Hope the new month is treating you well.


kathyinozarks said...

Good morning Erika, I really enjoyed your post today. We love fresh maple syrup and I always have it around.
One of our friends that lives way up north near Green Bay Wi taps and makes his own maple syrup-he gifted us one year with several quarts of it.
How wonderful that you have access to this maple syrup near you too. We love the flavor
I really like your journal page too for the second look, and it would have been a perfect spring page for this month's challenge.
Thanks so much for linking up with Food Wednesdays hugs Kathy

Mae Travels said...

Great post! Your photos are wonderful. Maple syrup is one of my favorite flavors, and I could drink it like a beverage (but I don't). I've noticed it in some recipes recently where they wanted PURE vegan, so they wouldn't use honey.

best... mae at

CJ Kennedy said...

A sure sign of Spring driving around and seeing the maple sugar buckets tapped into the trees. Interesting to see behind the scenes of the sugar shack.

Divers and Sundry said...

I've heard that global warming may drive all the maple syrup up into Canada :( That'll be tragic for family businesses. We keep maple syrup around for pancakes and waffles. Yummmm!

DVArtist said...

Wow! This is a wonderful post. Interesting on how this process is achieved. Thank you for reposting this. Have a wonderful day.

R's Rue said...

I always learn so much. Thank you.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I love how you combined the two challenges. I wish I had thought of that. I'm delighted you joined us for a second look with your maple syrup posts. I remember both well. Thanks again for sharing.

Valerie-Jael said...

Fascinating post Erika, there's a lot going on there. Hugs, Valerie

jinxxxygirl said...

Erika that was fascinating! 40 to 1 wow! I like your old fashioned idea of collection sap on your journal page better than the new more efficient way. Great post! Hugs! deb

Sharon Madson said...

Hi Erika. This is a great post. I knew I liked real maple syrup, now even better after reading the did you know sign. :) Have a great rest of the week.

Angie's Recipes said...

You now have me crave some real GOOD maple syrup!

Iris Flavia said...

In the are here we have a sugarbeet-factory, I remember the smell very well, when I still had a car and drove to/fro my family´s place.
I´m not into sweets but Ingo would be interested!

Empire of the Cat said...

I love maple syrup! Thanks for showing the photos of the process of making it, it is very expensive to buy the real thing here, and lots of fake maple syrups around. My friend went to Canada a few years ago and brought back plenty of the maple products:) Happy second on the second Elle/EOTC xx

Jeanie said...

I do love maple syrup! And thanks for the sugar shack photos. It reminds me of our visit to one in Pittsfield years ago and it was nice to be reminded! Looks like you had fun, too!

Aimeslee Winans said...

First off, Erika, that art journal page would make a most excellent painting big enough to hang over a living room couch or at least in the kitchen. I love it!!! And thank you for that syrup lesson. My knowledge of maple syrup tends to be nill. I'm hypoglycemic so my syrup is Mrs. Butterworth's Sugar Free. Now Honey loves maple syrup and will sometimes buy it in a little jug like in your photo. But here in the South I do know that molasses is used more in recipes. I have tasted real Vermont maple syrup though and it's delish. Wow, you do live in a rural area for sure. I would not like the unpaved road down here. It would be muddy muddy muddy as we get a lot of rain except in summer. XOX