How Sweet it is

maple sugaring

My brother next to his shiny new boiler.

I’m a big fan of every season in New Hampshire, but this time of year is extra sweet (literally!), with the maple syrup production in full force for the next few weeks. I wrote about maple sugaring a while back… I was lucky enough to grow up with a sugar house on my family’s farm and spent many March months tapping trees and watching the sap boil. Although those days are long gone, maple sugaring still has a little place in my heart. This must run in the family, as my brother shares this same passion for maple sugaring. However, he takes it to the next level by knowing literally everything there is to know about maple syrup, and he actually produces his own.

My brother has been busy gathering supplies and equipment to get one step closer to his dream of having his own maple sugar shack. For now, it’s a very time consuming hobby, but he is getting there, with hard work and lots of supplies and information from Bascom Maple Farms in Alstead and Fuller’s Sugarhouse in Lancaster. I paid him a visit recently to see what he was up to and if he had any syrup for me to sample. He had collected some sap but wasn’t quite ready to get started boiling. I did learn some interesting stuff though! He had collected about 125 gallons of sap so far, and he that he said would make about 3 gallons of syrup. Three gallons! That is all! Is that crazy or what? Maple sugaring is an awful lot of hard work for such little return, but oh that syrup is so sweet! It’s totally worth it.

maple sugaring

The 125 gallons of sap that will amount to roughly 3 1/2 gallons of maple syrup. Makes you think twice about overpouring syrup on your pancakes, huh!?

I’m so proud of my brother for working hard to fulfill his dream of making maple syrup, and I can’t wait until he is finally fully up and running. I’m hoping to hang out at his sugar house (if he lets me)… I could be a quality control taste tester, although I’m sure he will take care of that on his own, the expert that he is. Maybe he’ll let me fill the bottles or stick the labels on them like I used to do as a kid on our farm. Whatever it takes to get him to share some of his precious syrup with me!

Over the next few years I’ll probably learn far more than what I want to know about maple sugaring, thanks to my brother. Not everyone has a ‘backstage pass,’ like I do! If you want to learn more about maple sugaring and experience the art of making syrup, you can do so by visiting a sugar house in your area. Most sugar houses should be making syrup for the next few weekends. New Hampshire Maple Weekend is coming up on March 28th & 29th, so you have plenty of time to plan ahead and find a sugar house near you to visit. I suggest choosing one that serves maple sugar on ice cream because it’s the perfect treat on a warm, sunny March day. Maple sugaring in New Hampshire… How sweet it is!

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