Southern Maple Syrup: Gathering Sap and Boiling It Down

Sugar often comes from faraway places and requires much processing to get the product we buy in our grocery store, but there are other ways to get sugar locally and more sustainably. Obviously there is honey, and there is sorghum syrup, which was a popular form of sugar in the past in our part of the country. But there’s also maple syrup, which in our southern region can be made from silver maples.

Tapping trees (for us silver maples) gives a useful and nutritious natural product without disturbing natural habitat. This is sustainability in action. It does require fuel in the boiling process, but so does the production of sugar from tropical cane. The difference is maple syrup doesn’t require the tilling of land and the transport over thousands of miles, so it has far less negative impact on the planet.

And it’s not just for pancakes, as some might think. It can easily substitute for sugar in most applications with minor recipe adjustments. I use it for sweetening my tea, for sauces in cooking, and of course, for confections.

This is the second part of the maple syruping operation at Dancing Rabbit and Sandhill Farm.  We collect many gallons of sap and haul it to the sugar shack at Sandhill, where it’s boiled down into syrup.

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