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Harvest of the Month

March - Maple

Maple
Maple syrup is a staple in Vermont.  Most Vermonters are familiar with the sugaring process, or even make their own syrup.  It all started with the Abenaki, the indigenous tribe native to Vermont, who used to make maple sugar by placing hot stones into maple sap until the sap reached its boiling point.  When it achieved the proper thickness, the syrup was then poured onto the snow to cool into a solid form.  These days, the basic sugaring process has not changed, though collection and cooking implements have.  Reverse osmosis machines, plastic tubing, and vacuum-pump collection have made sugaring a lot more efficient.  In fact, this great little state produces the most maple syrup in the country - generating about 47% of the nation's total supply!

History
Native Americans have been tapping maple trees for hundreds of years to access its sap. After European settlers put down roots in our region, iron or copper kettles were used to hold sap as it was boiled down to syrup - it was called sugaring. From the 17th century onward, many Vermont dairy farmers sugared during the winter to boost their income. Today, sugar makers across the state are tapping their maple trees in the spring when temperatures fall below freezing overnight and range from 40-45 degrees F during the day. Using the heat from either oil or wood, they boil the sap into concentrated syrup that can be enjoyed year-round.

Benefits
  • Maple syrup provides a number of minerals including calcium, iron, and potassium.
  • Compared to white sugar, maple has lower sucrose content.

Fun Facts
  • Vermont is the largest producer of maple syrup in the United States
  • It takes up to 40 quarts of sap to produce one quart of maple syrup
  • Maple syrup is the only food derived from plant sap
  • All grades of syrup have the same sugar content differences is color are due to changing outside temperatures
  • Maple sap is clear when it’s tapped-the amber color develops when it’s being boiled down to syrup
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