What comes from the sap of trees, doesn’t freeze in below zero temperatures, and is native to North America?
MAPLE SYRUP. In the eastern part of the US, maple trees fill our parks and forests. While Canada and Vermont produce the most maple syrup, you can get sap from ANY maple tree that is at least 45 years old. Sap runs like clear water when tapped; the texture and color we enjoy on our pancakes comes from reducing the sap into syrup through WOOD-FIRED EVAPORATORS. It takes 40 gallons of sap to yield ONE GALLON of syrup – the reason why pure maple syrup cosst a lot more than pancake syrup which is made with high-fructose corn syrup and maple flavoring. Once you’ve tasted the real thing, pancake syrup just doesn’t cut it.
If you’re looking for a family-friendly road trip, why not check out some of the Maple Sugaring Demonstrations in NJ and PA that usually run from late January through early March. Here is just a sample of some of the many sites in the Eastern US. Check each specific website for dates. Some charge admission and require advance registration.
1. Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center in Chatham Township, NJ offers one-hour programs that teach you to identify and tap maple trees for sap collection at 1 and 2:30 PM every day rain or shine. http://www.morrisparks.net
2. Reeves-Reed Arboretum, Summit, NJ: http://www.reeves-reedarboretum.org
3. Duke Farms, Hillsborough, NJ: http://www.dukefarms.org
4. Environmental Education Center, Basking Ridge, NJ: http://www.somersetcountyparks.org
5. Peace Valley Nature Center, Doylestown, PA: http://www.peacevalleynaturecenter.org
6. Howell Living History Farm, Lambertville, NJ: In addition to syrup making demonstrations, this program also offers butter making, flour milling and pancake eating! Admission is FREE. http://www.howellfarm.org.
Check out the listings for farms near you and Have a Sap-Happy time!
For a detailed tutorial on how to tap your own maple trees: https://kaitoridge.com/