Every Spring, the Sugar Maple trees in northern Wisconsin run wild with their slightly-sweet sap.
If collected and boiled down, the sap gives us pure maple syrup, the Gold Standard in liquid sweetness.
First, we “tap” sugar maples that will be exposed to the sun, placing a bucket under the spout to collect the run-off
Drip-by-drip, the buckets slowly fill. We collected 60 gallons the first week from a collection of over 20 trees. If we waited a week we could have gotten a lot more.
Once the sap is collected, it has to be boiled down. 40 gallons of sap yields one gallon of maple sugar, which means we have to boil a lot of sap to get any meaningful amount of syrup.
The fires are started and stoked for days:
Once the sap boils off enough, we quickly bottle it and save it for some pancakes or maybe a Maple Old Fashioned!
One of the best things about the Maple Syrup season is experiencing the end of winter. Though things are melting and warming up, winter doesn’t seem quite ready to release its grasp.
Hiking in the woods is an incredibly isolating experience, as if everything in the forest is on spring break, waiting for the next season to begin.
I always leave after a few days of Maple Syruping incredibly thankful that I get to experience such a rare and magical treat, only possible a few weeks out of the year.
Even better when you get to spend it with your special someone.