Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Acadian Forest Maple Syrup

Yes, please!

In my last post I wrote about it being time for tapping sugar maples in the forest. The season traditionally runs through March and April, making it the earliest agricultural product in North America.

Here we are a little later, and the maple syrup is ready. 

The sugar maple (Acer saccharum) tree is a beautiful hardwood species found in the Acadian Forest. Its sap contains about 2-3 % sugar, which is boiled down until it is syrup containing at least 66% sugar. It takes 40 parts of sap to make 1 part syrup.

When these trees are healthy, they can live up to an amazingly long-lived 400 years old. It is a shade-tolerant species found in mature forests. If a forest is cut over, more opportunistic species replace it. This has caused an overall decline in the number of mature trees.

Climate change is affecting the growth of the sugar maple since they require cooler temperatures. Over time, their range will be pushed farther north.

100% natural sweetener. I wanted to buy it all. 

Unlike more invasive forest activities, the trees in a tapping operation are in no way damaged or harmed. Compare that to the clear cuts that blight Nova Scotia forests, and we can see how working with nature is so much better than working against it.

"Being a wildcrafted product, pure maple syrup acquires tastes, flavours and aromas from the surrounding natural environment.  
During the spring melt, water runs over different rock and vegetation on its way to the tree roots and it acquires a host of varying tastes and flavours distinct to each individual sugaring operation."

Yesterday I road my bike down the road to a neighbourhood farm to pick up a jar of local maple yumminess. The price is comparable to the grocery store, and I get a canning jar that is reusable for so many things. No plastic here.

Even better, my money helps support a local family rather than going to a large corporate interest in some other province.

Take a jar, leave your money in the container - the honour system. Would it work in the city?
The label reads, "Made by hand by real flannel-shirt-wearing farmers".

The syrup I bought is different from the last store bought syrup I got. It is a beautiful golden colour, meaning it will have a lighter taste than the more robust mapley flavour of darker varieties.

I am looking forward to trying my first jar of local syrup made from the forest that surrounds my home.


The sugar maple is one of the most colourful trees
in the forest when fall comes.

"We must keep these waters for wild rice, these trees for maple syrup, our lakes for fish, and our land and aquifers for all of our relatives - whether they have fins, roots, wings, or paws."
- Winona LaDuke

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