Conservation Connection: Rockwoods Maple Sugar Festival

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(KPLR) - Did you know there might be some delicious treats waiting to be discovered in your own back yard?  February is maple sugar season!  Kevin McCarthy of the Conservation Department, joins us today to talk about tapping into the secret sweets of trees.

Q.  Why is February Maple Sugar season?

  • Sugar stored in tree roots during winter
  • Above freezing days and below freezing nights cause sap to flow in trees
  • Sap from sugar maple trees has the highest amount of sugar

Q. How do you go about getting the sap?

  •  Process discovered by Native Americans and refined by European settlers
  • Pick tree at least 10 inches in diameter
  • Drill small hole and insert tap
  • Hang bucket to collect sap
  • Filter sap to remove niter
  • Boil down sap to evaporate excess water requires 40 hours of boiling to produce 1 gallon of syrup

Q. You mention other things that can be made - what are they?

  •  Boiling to higher temps produces granulated sugar or hard sugar
  •  This was most common product made by settlers - used for long term storage and trading

Q.  So what`s really in most of the common store brands of syrup?

  • Maple flavored high fructose corn syrup

Q.  Tell us about the Rockwoods Maple Sugar Festival this weekend

  • This Saturday from 10-3 at Rockwoods Reservation
  • Free for the whole family
  • See the whole maple sugaring process in action, both historic and modern methods
  • Learn how to do it at home
  • Sample real maple sugar and syrup!
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