This weekend Marc, some of the kids and I went on the Maple Syrup trail in New Hampshire. Although maple sugaring goes on throughout the spring season (until the maple tree buds come out), this weekend is set aside yearly by the State for different sugar shacks to display their operations, have goodies out for sampling and selling, provide tours, and to generally give everyone a reason to celebrate (and who doesn’t celebrate about Maple Syrup?)
On Saturday we visited 6 different sugar shacks where at each one you are given a medicinal cup with a sample of syrup in it. We also tried maple candy, cookies, brownies, crème horns, maple infused hotdogs, and maple coffee. Even with that feast, there were many things we didn’t try. Have you figured out that maple is BIG in New Hampshire?
While maple sugar, as a sugar substitute doesn’t always work, most of foods sold did. Believe it or not the highlight of our tour was a hot dog that was pumped full with hot maple syrup – sounds gross right? All I can say is don’t knock it till you’ve tried it (and if you’re going to try it be sure to include the spicy maple mustard on top.) This was like eating a deep fried Twinkie – you know it’s bad for you but you can’t help licking all of your fingers clean at the end.
Trust me, though, as good as maple syrup and maple sugar is, at the end of the day all we wanted for dinner was a huge (unsweet) salad to wash all it all down. Even for us hard Granite Staters, too much of a good thing can sometimes be too much.
At every single shack, the owners told me that due to the very cold winter and lack of warm days for the sap to flow (you want warm days and cold nights) they were all at about half the production of what they normally made. They also told me that the maple buds came out as a result of increased sunlight (much like the eggs are coming out in our hen house now that there is more sun) so if the weather doesn’t get warmer very soon (and a blizzard is predicted in our area tomorrow) then it will be a very bad maple syrup season.
And for those of us who have grown up on the stuff and who would rather die than have a bottle of Aunt Jemima’s on our breakfast table, a very bad maple syrup season is a sad thing indeed.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
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