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Maple Syrup

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“Hurry up!” called John as Maggie grabbed the bucket in her trembling hands. She sprinted up the hill yelling, “I’m coming, I’m coming!” As she ran as fast as she could, she grew more and more worried. It was the last day of the sugaring season, and there were twenty more trees to harvest. Would we make it, she thought?

When Pioneers like Maggie arrived to America, they learned how to make syrup. Maple syrup was first discovered by the Native Americans of eastern Canada and the northeastern United States. By watching the Native Americans, Pioneers like John and Maggie learned how to make syrup and later they improved the process and speed of making Maple syrup.

Maple syrup is made by gathering sap from the maple trees. Maples are harvested in early spring, before the leaves bud, when the sap moves food up and down the tree. Sugar makers grow a group of maple trees, called a maple orchard. There needs to be enough syrup to last the rest of the year, there for twenty-five to 1,000 or more trees are grown.

Although, there are many maples only four are harvested. Theses trees are the sugar maple, black maple, red maple, and the silver maple. The sugar maple is the most famous because of it sweet sap. Oaks, butternuts, and other trees were once harvested, but now only maples are harvested.

Tree must grow a few years before they can be harvested. It must be forty to eighty years old in order to be harvested. Few live to be 400 years old and harvested for 320 – 360 years. Some grow as tall as a six-story building.

Caring for a maple forest is a year-round job. Sugar makers must cut down trees that prevent maples from getting sunlight; they also must cut down dead maples. Sugar makers must destroy pests and keep away animals that will eat baby maples. If the trees are not cared for they will die and have to be cut down.

Sugar makers drill holes into the tree, and insert a tap. Then they hang a bucket from the tap, sap drips into the bucket, and is then emptied into a tank. Some Sugar makers attach one end of a hose to a spout that is attached to tubes; the other end is attached to a tap. Sap flows through the hose and tubes into a tank. Using hoses collects more sap with less work.

The sap is moved to a sugar shack and put into a large pan over a fire. It is heated until it boils; as the water evaporates the sap becomes thicker and sweeter. About forty gallons of sap is needed to make one gallon of syrup. The sap is syrup when it at least 2/3 sugar.

The syrup goes through a cotton or paper filter, making it clean and pure. After syrup pass through the filter, it is ready to be sold. The syrup is then poured into containers. Many Sugar makers sell syrup at the orchards, but some Sugar makers sell theirs to stores. The syrup is then shipped to the stores.

on when the sap is taped and how fast it is made into syrup. Extra light syrup is harvested first in the season. Light syrup has a darker color, a stronger taste, and is harvested later in the season. Medium syrup has an even darker color, even stronger taste, and is harvested even later in the season. Amber syrup has the darkest color, strongest taste, and is harvested the latest in the season. Most of the pancake syrup you find at stores has little or no maple syrup in it. Other syrup is mostly corn syrup. Containers that say Pure Maple Syrup contain real maple syrup.

Making maple syrup is hard work, and caring for maples is even harder work. Even thought it is hard work, its all worth it in the end. Sugaring is a complicated process, and must be followed step by step. If any of the steps are skipped, or done wrong you may have to start over.

Since the days of the early Native Americans and Pioneers, people have been making and enjoying maple syrup. Now that you know all about maple syrup, why don’t you try it and see just how it was for people of early times.

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