Friday, March 21, 2014

Making Maple Sugar in 1805

"To Make Maple Sugar", Post-Boy, Windsor, Vermont, 
Tuesday, February 12, 1805, Volume 1, Issue 7, page 52


     Make an incision in a number of maple trees,
at the same time, in the months of February
and March, and receive the juice of them in
earthern or wooden vessels.  Strain the juice
(after it is drawn from its sediment) and boil it.
Place the kettle directly over the fire, in such a
manner, that the flame shall not play upon its
sides.  When it is reduced to thick syrup, and 
cooled, strain it again, and let it settle for two
or three days, in which time it will be prepared
for granulating.  This operation is performed
by filling the kettle half full of the syrup, and
boiling it a second time.  To prevent its rising
too suddenly and boiling over, add to it a piece
of fresh butter or fat, of the size of a walnut.
     You may easily determine whether it is suf-
ficiently boiled to granulate by cooling a little
of it.  It must then be put into bags or baskets
through which the water will drain, so as to leave
it in a solid form.  This sugar if refined by the 
usual process, may be made into as good single
or double refined loaves, as ever were made of
the sugar obtained from the juice of the West-
India cane.

Maple sap being boiled down to maple syrup 
at Hank Peterson's sugar house in Londonderry, New Hampshire

Maple sugar is a product of maple syrup.  I can be found granulated or in loaves, like brown sugar.  Smaller pieces of these sugar loaves or lumps are known as maple candy, usually formed into little molds in the shape of maple leaves, Pilgrims, log cabins and other New England themed shapes.  In New Hampshire you can find maple candy often molded in the "Old Man of the Mountain", our unofficial mascot. 

The Native Americans taught the European settlers to use maple sap for a variety of recipes, including syrup, sugar and cooking.  The New England settlers used it as a home grown sweetener, cheaper and more abundant than molasses and cane sugar imported from the Caribbean or South America.   Some of the more popular recipes in New England that used maple syrup were baked beans,  glazes for hams and meats, and desserts such as Indian pudding.  These recipes are still popular, and still made traditionally with maple syrup and sugar instead of cane sugar and molasses. 


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Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

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