Today we went on a field trip to Max McGraw Wildlife Refuge to see how Maple Syrup is made.
I have never been to see a demonstration before and I really enjoyed it. The temperature was 19 degrees, but at least it was sunny and not windy.We started off with a hike through the woods. The staff had a fantastic history of syrup along the walk. They said that Indians actually did live in these woods hundreds of years ago. They started tapping trees for sap in the 1600s after seeing birds getting sap out of the trees. The Indians made sugar crystals with the sap, and used it in trade. Then there was an example of how the pioneers took sap out of the tree, and how they used wooden buckets. In the 1800s people started putting a cap on the bucket to keep the rain out. Here is an example of what the pail we use today looks like. Although some places also use plastic tubing that runs from the tree directly to the sugar house.
They showed us how the Indians would heat the sap to evaporate the water out of the syrup. They hollowed out a log and poured the sugar sap from the tree into the log "bowl". Then they heated rocks in the fire and placed them in the syrup. It actually started boiling right before our eyes. Very cool!
This is what they use today to make syrup. It takes 50 gallons of maple sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup. And the whole process takes around 8 hours. There aren't any shortcuts after all these years. The sugar fog smelled so good!
In the end we all got a taste of pure maple syrup that was made right there. Heavenly goodness!If you get a chance, it's really a great trip for families to make together! And remember Maple harvesting is only done during the month of March!