What Makes Maine Maple Syrup Such A Sweet Spring Treat?
By Lill - Freelance Writer - Article Added ( 03/12/2009 )
What Makes Maine Maple Syrup Such A Sweet Spring Treat: You may have tasted maple syrup from other states, but until you've tasted Maine's, you're missing the best maple syrup of all. Only in northernmost New England will you find the warm days, nights below freezing, and the extended spring that produces the best syrup. Like fine wine, Maine maple syrup's flavor, color and thickness depends on several factors. Soil, temperature, elevation, wind and and weather all combine to produce a product that may be thick and dark one year, thinner and golden the next year, but always delicious.
Maine made maple syrup has a well-deserved reputation for being more flavorful than syrups from states to the south. While many people have tried to establish maple sugar industries in other places, the syrup lacks the sweetness, body and depth of Maine's maple syrup. Although the trees still produce sap, it's not sweet and even when boiled down and concentrated, the syrup is flat and tasteless. This is because the sugar in the syrup doesn't develop when the nights are above freezing, or when spring is too short.
Maple syrup is one of the few products that is still made essentially the way it was thousands of years ago when Native Americans boiled it down by putting heated rocks into wooden buckets of syrup. Europeans adopted the practice, but with very large iron kettles that could be placed directly over a fire, which made the process easier and less labor intensive. This also made better syrup, because it didn't contain debris and dirt from the rocks.
Maine's farmers, who were mainly abolitionists, preferred making their own maple sugar to buying sugar from sugar cane, because that was produced with slave labor. They were also thrifty New Englanders and would rather work for a few days in the spring than spend their money on something they could make themselves. Maine maple syrup is still made, every spring, on small family farms and in sugarhouses. There are tours and open-houses where visitors can taste different types of syrups, including ones flavored with blueberries, raspberries, apples and other fruits.
Not just for pancakes, maple syrup is also wonderful for flavoring your favorite recipes, for glazes and drinks and in desserts. Many people put it on ham and chicken. Some like to substitute maple syrup for part of the sugar called for in pie recipes. Purists pour it over vanilla ice cream or even over snow. Called "Maple Cream" by some, this is an old-fashioned treat that children were allowed to make during sugaring season.
Whatever you pour it on, Maine made maple syrup is the champagne of maple syrup. This spring, take a tour. Go to an open house. Find out why Maine's maple syrup has a reputation for being the most flavorful in the country. If spring has already come and gone, don't despair. There are plenty of bottles of Maine maple syrup on gift shop and supermarket shelves throughout Maine and New England. Sweet, rich and unique, there's no substitute for maple syrup made in Maine.
Check out Spring Break Maple & Honey and Hall Farms Maple Products
About The Author: Lill Hawkins