A Maple by Any Other Name

February 2, 2017

Remember how I was weaning myself off of sugar? 

 

Then Lucas appeared, holding a short piece of tapered PVC pipe.

“I’m been using this to tap maple trees and get sap.”  He offered me a sample.  To my sugar-deprived palate, it tasted like nectar from heaven

“Here you go, have a few pieces of PVC for you to try it.”  Oh, Lucas, what have you started?  I ran around the neighborhood with a ¾-inch drill, tapping two potential sugar maples as well as our native big-leaf maples.  My daily walks gained new urgency to check my dripping trees, and I was dismayed when the bags I was using to collect sap developed tiny leaks. 

Still, I got half a gallon of sap the first day.  It doesn’t look or taste like much (“Water,” said Daniel, smacking his lips dismissively), but when left to evaporate in a warm oven overnight, we can scrape up maple candy from the bottom of the pan.  Two taps in the front-yard maple tree help me monitor how the “run” is going, and how often I should check the other trees.  The frosty winter helps, with noticeably more sap on clear days and nights. 

 

Lucas made enough syrup to give a pint to his beloved Senia.  That’s the jar in the first picture.  During our house lunch, we spooned it over baked squash and added a dollop of butter from Cookie the Cow.  Wow. 

 

I tell myself that the sap is loaded with minerals that will surely do us good.  Frankly, though, if it didn’t have such intoxicating sweetness, I wouldn’t be working this hard.

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