More than 60 sugar houses across New Hampshire will participate in the state’s Maple weekend, set for March 22 and 23, 2014.
You can learn how maple syrup is made and the modern methods used to carry on this ancient tradition. There’ll be free samples, horse-drawn rides, sugar on snow, pancake breakfasts and more. Maple sugaring time in New Hampshire runs from mid-February to mid-April.
As the frozen sap in the maple tree thaws, it begins to move and build up pressure within the tree. When the internal pressure reaches a certain point, sap will flow from any fresh wound in the tree.
Freezing nights and warm sunny days create the pressure needed for a good sap harvest.
In late February, New Hampshire maple producers tap their sugar maples by drilling a small hole in the trunk and inserting a spout. A bucket or plastic tubing is fastened to the spout and the crystal clear sap drips from the tree.
It is then collected and transported to the sugar house where it is boiled down in an evaporator over a blazing hot fire. As the steam rises from the evaporator pans, the sap becomes more concentrated until it finally reaches the proper density to be classified as syrup.
It is then drawn from the evaporator, filtered, graded and bottled. It takes approximately forty gallons of sap to make one gallon of pure maple syrup.
Maple syrup is made in the Northeastern United States and Southeastern Canada, and the maple season usually lasts 4-6 weeks. The days and length of the sap runs depend entirely on the weather.
(Photo courtesy of MNN and New Hampshire Maple Producers)