Several members of the Maryland Chapter of the Tasha Tudor Museum Society gathered at Cunningham Falls State Park in Thurmont, Maryland last Saturday for the Park's annual Maple Syrup demonstration. Maple sugaring was one of the things Tasha Tudor featured in several of her books: A Time to Keep, Around the Year, Seasons of Delight. This drawing of hers is in Mary Mason Campbell's book, The New England Butt'ry Shelf Almanac. . . .
We'd had several inches of snow the day before and the landscape made for a beautiful backdrop for the Maple Syrup Festival. . . .
Edie and I were the first to arrive and to our delight it was not yet crowded. We got in the short line for the hearty pancake and sausage breakfast (with genuine Maryland Maple Syrup) which was being held in an enclosed pavilion warmed only by a fireplace in the center of the building. . . . .
Soon Gloria and Linda and her friend Scott joined us. . . .
There was some time before the next Ranger talk so we walked up to the Visitor Center to view the video by Outdoor Maryland about Maple sugaring in Maryland. . . .
After the video the librarian read the book, Sugaring by Jessie Haas, to the children. . . .
We went over to the Maple Syrup Boiling Shed to await the Ranger talk. A volunteer was making a spout out of a Staghorn Sumac branch. . . .
The sumac has a soft core which makes burning a hole through it easier. . . .
This is what it looks like in the tree trunk. . . .
Linda took a taste of the sap coming out of a nearby tap. . . .
She said it did not taste at all sweet and was rather awful tasting.
The Ranger then began his talk by asking if anyone knew how maple sap was first discovered to be sweet. He called on a little boy in the audience to give him the answer. . . .
The Ranger then talked about the wooden buckets that the colonists used to collect the sap, which were usually sealed on the inside with paint that contained lead. They made their spouts out of metal and soldered with lead. It would seem that eating sweets has never been a healthy thing to do. . .
He told us about how the syrup is graded by color. The lightest color has a delicate taste, amber is richer, a dark color has a robust flavor and the darkest is strong. The last two are used mainly in cooking and baking. . . .
You can read more about Maple Syrup HERE.
If you want to try tapping your own maple trees, HERE'S HOW.
And HERE'S a fun song with pictures about maple sugaring.
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