Did I mention the pancakes?

That sap is sure to start running any day now and then we’ll know it’s springtime at last! Talking to the experts around here it seems this prolonged cold spell has meant that the maples haven’t begun to share their sap with us just yet…but that’s going to change soon.

Stocking the fire

I recently joined two diverse groups of visitors to maple syrup festivals and got a re-education on the wonders of this sugary treasure we harvest each spring.

Seems that the first nations have been tapping maples for time immemorial and since being able to store the syrup was difficult they made it into wonderful crystallized maple sugar that they traded and used to preserve meats. I’ve tasted the dried salmon cured in maple sugar and it is divine.

At the conservation areas I visited, enthusiastic volunteers reenacted the old way pioneers tapped the trees, reduced the sap down to a syrup and then into the blocks of crystallized sugar. Given that the temperature that day was -10 celsius you had to admire the volunteers hardiness…just like the ancestors they were portraying.

Hardy volunteer

The two groups I joined were different in some ways and alike in others…at the one very hilly maple lot they were young school children – squealing with delight even before their sugar fix. Accompanied by caregivers, they were amazed at the process of getting sugar from trees.

40 buckets

The second group were seniors who gathered at a conservation area with a much flatter terrain and many of them were also accompanied by their caregivers …they however didn’t squeal with delight until the pancakes, covered in maple syrup arrived…as did I…a great start to spring.

seniors tour

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35 Responses to Did I mention the pancakes?

  1. I am not a big syrup fan, but would nevertheless have been fun to watch a festival like this. I enjoyed your photos from the event.

  2. Sartenada says:

    Very informative to me. Your photos are great. Thank You.

  3. gpcox says:

    I’ve been all over this site of yours this morning and I can not find a single one I haven’t read!! Do you think I enjoy it or not!!?!! 😉

  4. Sounds yummy. I can’t speak to anything to do with butchering or curing meat since that is way beyond my knowledge! Thanks for the visit.

  5. hermitsdoor says:

    We have similar Pancake Suppers in our region. Of course, in addition to the regular or buckwheat pancakes and maple syrup, they have sausage gravy, bacon, ham, etc. all cured in the old-timey sugar-cured fashion (really a pile of salt with a little brown sugar mixed in). Do folk butcher their own hogs and cure the meat up your way?
    Oscar

  6. Hmm – good question about how much each tree produces…I looked it up and each tree will yield around 10 gallons of sap or around 1 quart of syrup.

  7. Ming Wang says:

    40 buckets of sap make one bucket of maple syrup only, not sure how many buckets of syrup one tree can produce each year? Very interesting,

  8. I wish I was talented enough to have painted it…No it’s a print I picked up by Jane Hall who, like me, is an interior designer who loves crazy colours.
    http://www.janehalldesign.com/furniture.aspx
    Hope you get to drown your pancakes soon!

  9. I’m ready for my pancakes drowned in maple syrup! I love your header picture. Did you paint it?

  10. gpcox says:

    This is a – “Wish I was there.” moment for me.

  11. Nancy says:

    Maple Sugar Time… back eas…t was always a favorite of mine! Thank you for making me HUNGRY for pancakes with REAL Maple Syrup!

  12. Sheryl says:

    I like how you attended maple sugar festivals with two diverse groups. The resulting pictures and story add wonderful layers of richness to the post. I remember once going to a maple sugar festival with a group of cub scouts when my kids were young–lots of energy and excitement.

  13. I’m confident that you have some delicious recipes for using maple syrup too.

  14. quilt32 says:

    I’ve never been able to see any of this activity close-up, but I surely do love maple syrup.
    Lillian

  15. icelandpenny says:

    great images, fun contrast between the two groups, thanks for taking us with you

  16. Cheryl Kryzaniwsky says:

    The Maple Syrup Festival in Grey Bruce is this weekend and I may repeat MAY wander out. Cold may keep me indoors. On the positive side (it’s getting harder to find the positive) it won’t be muddy in the bush as it remains snow covered and frozen! Thanks for the blog and peaking my interest.

  17. But you do have that delicious maple cured salmon! Thanks for the visit.

  18. sueslaght says:

    Being from Western Canada I seem to know nothing about making maple syrup. 40 buckets of sap for one of syrup? Who knew?

  19. joannesisco says:

    I have never been to a sugar shack. Maybe I need to add that to my list of things to do!
    When we were out hiking a few weeks ago we noticed that the trees were tapped and ready to go … but yes, it was a cold day. Not surprised that the trees are reluctant to come out of hiberation 🙂

  20. agnesashe says:

    Minus 10 celsius is that a normal early spring temperature for your part of Canada? No wonder you can’t wait for the spring to get going. Good maple syrup is expensive here in England and now I can see why.

    • The cold has been unrelenting but we seem to be getting a bit of a reprieve so the sap will start flowing and perhaps our gardens will wake up. 100% maple syrup is costly here too…I have only just learned about all of it’s antioxidants and naturally occurring minerals so it’s actually good for you!

  21. Gunta says:

    First the give you a show in the fall, then they treat with sweets as a sign of spring. What more could you ask for?

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