Saturday, March 3, 2012

On the trail of the Sugar House

My family I have been visiting sugar houses this time of year since we moved to the heart Maple-Sap collection-land, New England.  This year we decided hit Flanders Nature Center in Woodbury Connecticut.  The surrounding farm land was purchased in 1926 by a wealthy NY family and eventually turned into a nature preserve from 1963 with the inception of the Flanders Nature Center, Inc. to 1973 with the first land grant.

Native Americans from this region were the first groups known to have collected maple tree sap and produce maple syrup.  News to me!  This was going on long before the Europeans arrived.  As the very knowledgeable Flanders volunteer explained, the Native Americans collected the sap by cutting a V-shaped incision on the tree and setting buckets under the incision.  Since they did not have metal containers to boil the water away and concentrate the maple sugars, they set hot rocks into the hollow log containers.  If it was cold enough at night, they would let the surface freeze and remove the ice which also concentrates the syrup solution.  Once the syrup was produced, they could store it birch-bark buckets and use it for cooking.

Legend has it that the first production occurred by accident when a tomahawk was thrown into a tree with a hollow log under it.  The next morning the hollow log was filled with what the natives thought was plain water.  A hunting party came back with a deer.  Logically, they cooked the venison in the special water and a new recipe was born...

For more photos click on the link: Maple

Of course forest hiking is available.

Thanks Flanders Nature Center!

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