Maple Weekend is a great, local treat

Mar 11, 2015

New York State Maple Producers welcome you to the annual Maple Weekend March 21-22 and 28-29, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Visit your local maple producer to see first-hand how sap from sugar maple trees is made into maple syrup.

During Maple Weekend, local producers open their sugarhouses to the public. Visiting your local sugarhouse is free and producers will have a variety of maple products for sale, including maple syrup, maple cream, maple sugar and maple candy. If you have never tasted pure New York State maple syrup, you are in for a treat. It is sweet and delicious and tastes better than any store bought pancake syrup. Check out pancake breakfasts being held near maple producers for your chance to eat pure maple syrup on your pancakes.

Maple syrup, produced from sugar maple tree sap, is only produced in the northeastern United States and eastern Canada. Native Americans made pure maple syrup before Europeans arrived in North America. Other parts of the world may produce syrup from other types of trees, but no syrup has as high of sugar content as maple syrup. Maple season lasts for about six weeks.

Maple syrup is made by evaporating the water from pure maple sap until the syrup is at minimum 66 percent sugar by weight. It takes about 40 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of pure maple syrup.

Syrup is graded by color and the darker the color of the syrup, the stronger the flavor. The grade is determined by the amount of light that shines through the syrup. New York Grade A Light Amber is the lightest of the color grades and has a mild, delicate flavor. Medium amber is a bit darker in color and flavor and dark amber is the darkest in color and flavor. Grade B syrup is also made but is sold to be used as an ingredient in other products. Weather conditions, the way the sap is harvested and production techniques all can affect the color and flavor of maple syrup.

According to the Cornell Sugar Maple Research and Extension program, when cooking, maple syrup can be used in place of granulated white sugar. Use 1 cup of pure maple syrup for 1 cup of granulated white sugar and reduce the liquid in the recipe by 3 tablespoons for every cup of pure maple syrup used. One cup of maple sugar can also replace 1 cup of granulated white sugar. There is no scientific research that shows that pure maple syrup is any healthier than granulated white sugar but because pure maple syrup is less refined it contains minerals and antioxidants not found in granulated white sugar.

Keep unopened containers of pure maple syrup in a cool, dark place. Once the container is open, tightly seal it and store it in the refrigerator or the freezer.

Buy local and support the first local agricultural product of the season by attending Maple Weekend and enjoying the sweetness of pure maple syrup. Visit the Maple Weekend website at www.nysmaple.com for a maple producer near you.

Article from The Daily News and taken from
http://www.thedailynewsonline.com/lifestyles/article_6a0b6fac-c43c-11e4-a091-db1c422f452e.html