A maple sugar bush in fall

People in Quebec are crazy about maple: maple trees, maple wood, maple leaves, and, of course, maple syrup. The latter is a gift from Indigenous peoples, who showed the European settlers how to collect maple sap in the spring and boil it down into syrup.

I have watched people from an Algonquin community harvest sap by hand using traditional methods, and I have seen the modern operations which involve miles of plastic tubing which has largely replaced the quaint buckets that hang on the trees.

Old sap-collecting buckets

On my recent trip to Quebec, I visited the “Maison Amerindienne,” which features and exhibit on Indigenous maple syrup making. Good syrup requires cold nights and warm days. Those conditions occur in early spring when there is still considerable snow in the woods, so Aboriginal peoples wore snowshoes (just one more of their amazing inventions) to get around in the woods and carry the sap buckets back and forth to the fire. Check out these cool snowshoes, made completely of wood.

Antique snowshoes

I bought several cans of syrup to bring home. We insist on the real thing when we have pancakes or waffles. I also have a recipe for a killer maple syrup souffle –  which, come to think of it,  I haven’t made in a while. If you’re interested in the recipe, let me know and I’d be happy to post it – if you promise to use only real, pure maple syrup.


About dirtynailz

Writer for a daily newspaper, gardener, tree hugger, orchid-grower, photographer, animal lover, hiker, wilderness seeker. Proponent of clover in the lawn and a dog on the bed.
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8 Responses to Maple

  1. HerbDoc says:

    Sounds delicious, DN! Please post it! One town over (Richmond), there are scores of very old
    maple trees where the sap is collected and boiled every spring. Just driving through that part of the state is so aromatic at that time! At this time of the year in New Engand the cider presses are going at full tilt. When my kids were young we always took a day trip to Clyde’s Cider Mill in
    Mystic, CT to see the antique cider press and operation and purchase apple cider and jack. Fun!


    • dirtynailz says:

      It is delicious, and very impressive-looking. I always think it is so amazing how something so delicious can be made from tree sap.

      I will post the recipe!


  2. cj wright says:

    Yes! Please post the recipe! I’d be interested in any recipes using herbs and veggies from your garden, too.


  3. MT says:

    I just came across an article relating to this subject. The first paragraph reads:
    “Canadian maple syrup producers are welcoming a proposed new U.S. law that would make it a felony offence to use the word “maple” in products that don’t live up to federal standards for purity.”
    Apparently some products were not pure Maple Syrup as is the case for the Canadian products.


  4. We can buy, cheap maple syrup flavoured golden syrup (=sugar all the way) or expensive, imported obviously, real maple syrup. I’ll just go and drool over your next post.


    • dirtynailz says:

      I would love to send you a can of the good stuff. If you send me your email address I will pop a can into the mail. Do you think there would be a problem with customs?


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