Guest post by Buzzy! Thanks, Buzzy! Where’s my maple donut??
Buzzy and Mr. Buzzy were finally able to realize a life-long dream: attending the annual Highland County Maple Festival just an hour and a half away! So many activities and events! I won’t go into the magic of the entertainment…
Or the impressive junk food options…
Or even the wonder of the Maple Queen and her Syrup princesses (we missed the crowning at the Maple Ball)…
Instead, we’ll focus on the fascinating process of getting sugar water from trees to something worthy of crowning your pancakes.
It starts with a sugar maple tree. In Virginia they mainly grow above altitudes of 3,000 ft.. Some of the trees still in use for tapping are 200+ years old!
With a good cycle of freezing and thawing, pressure grows in the tree to seal up the hole that the tap (called a spile) has made. During the thaw, the sugar water comes out of the hole, too quickly for the tree to heal itself. Don’t worry: no trees are permanently injured in the making of maple syrup!
The sugar water that gets collected varies in sugar content each year. For 2015 it takes only 32 gallons of sugar water that you boil down to produce 1 gallon of maple syrup. In other years it’s been much higher, and you can actually make syrup from lower altitude maples, but you’d need double the sugar water.
Once you have maple syrup, then the options to celebrate are limitless. We highly recommend the maple donuts. Buzzy ate four!!
For you energy-conscious readers who are thinking: wow, this is a ridiculously energy intensive process — you’re right! Buzzy recommends you get your sugar from honey, where the bees do all the work evaporating nectar into honey. Carbon footprint = 0.
This post brought to you by McBene Hill Honey.