Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sugar Bush

Yesterday, we made our annual trek to the sugar bush. Wheelers Pancake House and Sugar Camp serve a wonderful breakfast year-round, and we love going there in the Spring. This was the first weekend of the season they were boiling their sap. The steam was billowing from their chimneys, and we could see the sap travelling through a transparent pipe just outside the window by our table.

Wheelers Pancake House and Sugar CampAfter eating maple-flavored sausages and drenching our pancakes and French toast with maple syrup, we tramped around outside for awhile before heading back to Ottawa.

According to Wheelers' website, maple syrup is only made in Eastern Canada and North-Eastern USA from the sap of sugar maple and black maple trees. Sap is collected in the Spring when the days are just above freezing and the nights are below freezing. According to one of the members of the Wheeler family who served us our breakfast, they have been able to start maple syrup production as early as February 21 and run as late as April 4; it all depends on the weather.

Like making a simple syrup of sugar and water, the sap is boiled until the water is removed and all that is left is the concentrated sap that is dark, sweet maple syrup. The longer you boil, the darker and more flavorful the grade of syrup. As well, sap from early in the season yields lighter syrup and darker syrup is made later in the season. It takes a lot of sap (about 160 cups) to make a bit of syrup (about 4 cups).

This coming week I'll share some recipes that use maple syrup. In the meantime, here is a link to some recipes from the gang at Wheelers: Maple Recipes.

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    Anonymous said...

    Oh, what fun, I've always wanted to see maple syrup being made! Can't wait to see what you do with it, it's one of my favorite flavors. :)

    Anonymous said...

    This is so interesting. Sounds like a fun excursion. One begins to appreciate why pure maple syrup is so pricey!

    Anonymous said...

    what a fun trip! wish i could go!

    natalia said...

    I wish I was there !!

    Anonymous said...

    That looks really good, and really fun. Next time, call me and we will meet you there...we all love pancakes and syrup...a real treat, and it just might be worth the trip for this particular one!! Great photos.

    Megan said...

    Wow, no wonder maple syrup is so expensive. 160 cups of sap! I just bought some syrup so I'm looking forward to seeing your recipes. I would so love to see sap cruzing by as I eat my pancakes. What a neat place!

    Aimée said...

    I love those pictures, Shari! We're hoping to go sugaring off on Saturday. Old school style!

    Chris Kandrat said...

    Pretty awesome