Perhaps we’re not quite fully appreciative of Mother Nature’s unique gift to a select portion of North America. Nowhere else on earth produces the sap giving sugar maple. It is indigenous across the southern part of Canada from southeast Manitoba east to Nova Scotia, throughout New England south through the Virginias, and west through eastern Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri. Though there are many other varieties of maple trees, none but ours produce the miracle of syrup. Its growing popularity across the globe has prompted many attempts to plant the sugar maple and nurture it in other regions have been decidedly unsuccessful.
There are many fables in history and many heros. Ours, in this regard at least, may be a certain Indian chief who, in a fit of anger threw his tomahawk at the nearest tree. That tree was a sugar maple which immediately began to weep a fragrant sap. The chief’s wife is said to have gathered the sap and used it to cook a venison dinner. Thus began the sweet saga and prized production of maple syrup.
The methods have been enhanced and modernized quite a number of times. Sugar houses have gone from lean-tos sheltering a boiling vat of sap to exceedingly sophisticated and controlled operations in stainless steel. Connecticut’s local producers are second to none. Sugar farmers and their neighbors tap their maple trees to capture the sap. They frequently join forces to distill their precious sap into maple syrup for commercial resale and for their own personal consumption.
By visiting the market’s web site, you will find previously published recipes including Maple Nut Granola, Maple Roasted Spareribs, Maple Bacon Ice Cream and Maple Coleslaw Dressing. Just enter the word maple in the search box and you will find these and many more maple recipes. This week we’re pleased to offer a Maple-Walnut Cheesecake. Sounds like a good fit for the Thanksgiving dessert table.