Posted by: norstarnewengland | April 11, 2009

Maple Sugaring: Signs of Spring for the Senses

Maple sugaring one of the sure signs that spring is just around the corner. Where I look for maple sugaring is at the Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in Sharon, Massachusetts.

The sugaring shack in the woods

The sugaring shack in the woods

Southeastern Massachusetts isn’t known for maple sugaring, but Moose Hill does it for education, not profit, and I volunteer there to help with one of the programs about it.  As I lead people on groups to stations where someone talks on either the process or a moment in time to show how it was done then, maple sugaring is all around.  There’s nothing like feeling the rough bark warmed by the sun; hearing the drip from the sap hit the bottom of the galvanized steel bucket; seeing the steam rise from the evaporator; smelling the maple sugar in the steam; and, of course, tasting maple syrup on pancakes – or perhaps something else like maple flavored ‘sap dogs’ or maple sugar sprinkled popcorn.  Mmmmmm.

Do you wanna taste?

Do you wanna taste?

The season this year was pretty good.  The sap ran from about mid February to just about the last day of the public tours, on March 22.  The times when it runs are generally when the days are above 32 degrees F and the nights are below 32.  This allows the sap to run with the sugar but with the least bitter minerals.

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