Right at this very moment, if you were to drive through any small town in rural New Hampshire, you would notice buckets hanging from trees, or a network of pale blue tubing twisting through someone’s yard. New England has a long, proud history of maple sugaring and my family has eagerly joined the tradition!
Our backyard maple sugaring story begins in March of 2012 after my brother discovered a cigar box full of dusty antique spiles (spouts) at my family’s New Hampshire cottage. He began tapping maple trees at his home in upstate New York and shared some of the spiles – and his Sugar Maple identification tips – with us. A few days later, we ventured back home to New Hampshire and tapped 6 Oak trees and 2 Sugar Maples.
Oops! Everyone makes mistakes, and we discovered ours when we had two overflowing buckets of sap later that day, and 6 empty ones! I pulled a small piece of bark off of 1 of the Sugar Maple trees and carried it with me as I walked throughout the yard, using it as a guide to find the correct trees.
The maple syrup is ready at 219 degrees Fahrenheit. I pour it into sterile, hot jars and wait for the “ping” that all canners love to hear. It takes 40 gallons of well-filtered sap (we use coffee filters) and many hours of evaporation to make just 1 gallon of maple syrup. Colin and I collect the sap twice a day and store it outside in the snow when it is not being cooked.
Fluffy Mickey Mouse Pancakes (original recipe)
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 2 TBSP white vinegar
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 TBSP sugar
- 1 TSP aluminum-free baking powder
- 1/2 TSP baking soda
- 1/2 TSP kosher salt
- 1 fresh egg
- 2 TBSP melted butter
- cooking spray
2. Whisk the rest of the ingredients into the soured milk and stir until the batter is smooth.
3. Cook 1/4 cup of batter at a time on a sprayed, heated griddle or frying pan until golden.