Maple Syrup Au Naturel

In the northern clime of Michigan, the ideal time to trim deciduous trees (that is, Maple-syrupnon-evergreens) is in their dormant state.  That means winter.  Unfortunately, this winter was colder than most and the snow was deeper.  So whenever I considered trimming a few branches, it was either frigidly cold or there was more than a foot of snow to tramp through.

Last weekend, however, I saw a window of opportunity and took it.  In retrospect, I had delayed a too long, for the sap was already flowing — not a good time to be removing branches.

Nevertheless, I spent about an hour trimming the most offending limbs before the damp coldness penetrated my body and common sense pervaded my mind.

A few days later, I was surprised to see an “icicle” on a Maple tree, hanging from my last cut.  (I know, it was poorly done, but I was cold, remember?)

I investigated, first snapping a photo for you to see and then performing a taste-test of the frozen liquid.  To my delight, it was as expected: slightly sweet.

To prove that I wasn’t deluding myself, I coaxed my wary bride into tasting it, but without explanation.  After careful consideration, she announced, with puzzled look, that it was a little sweet.

(In case you are interested, to make Maple Syrup, the sap from Maple trees is collected and the water removed by heating it.  What is left is Maple Syrup.  Depending on the sweetness of the sap, I have heard that it takes anywhere from 10 to 100 gallons of sap to make a gallon of syrup.  That’s a lot of sap that a Maple tree needs to put out just to make our morning pancakes sweet.)

What do you think? Please leave a comment!