Mmmm Mmmm Maple!
It’s a tell-tale sign of spring in New Hampshire, maple sugaring season. And it’s one of my favorite times of the year. As soon as the snowbanks start to recede and the temperatures start to rise, you can bet you’ll start to see steam billowing from sugar houses. There’s nothing quite like stepping into a sugarhouse and having the sweet smell of boiling sap greet you.
The making of maple syrup, a centuries old tradition, is a rite of spring in New Hampshire and it’s celebrated at sugar houses all over the state. March, also known as Maple Month in the Granite State is your open invitation to stop by local sugar houses, talk to maple producers and see first-hand how this sweet treat is made.
If you haven’t seen how far technology has come in regards to maple sugaring, Maple Month is the perfect time to do that. Head to the Monadnock Region and Morning Star Maple on Route 101 in Dublin to see their hi-tech site. They’ve been producing maple products since 1988. What started as a hobby has grown into a full-time business and Morning Star Maple is a labor of love.
New Hampshire Maple Weekend
While this is Maple Month – the weekend of March 23rd and 24th marks the New Hampshire Maple Producers 24th annual Maple Weekend. A time to celebrate all things maple. The town of Warner is hosting the Kearsarge Maple Festival with a variety of events happening in Kearsarge Village. And in the Kearsarge Valley alone you’ll find nine sap houses including Rogers Maple Syrup and Courser Farm Sugar Kings, that are open and waiting for you to visit. Across the state this weekend, there are more than 100 sugar houses open. Many have planned special events and activities. So no matter where your travels bring you you’re likely to stumble across a sugar house. So stop by, savor the sweet smell of boiling sap and talk to the people who have an incredible passion for carrying on this wonderful tradition.
In the Kitchen Cooking with Maple Syrup
Sure pure New Hampshire made Maple Syrup is delicious on your pancakes or french toast, so imagine adding maple to other recipes? Yum! For the occasion I dug some recipes out of the archives that you might want to consider to mix things up a bit this spring. My personal favorite is the Maple Ginger Cake.
Maple Ginger Cake
½ cup white or brown sugar ¼ cup dark molasses
2 Tbsp shortening ¼ cup maple syrup
1 egg (beaten) ½ cup sour milk
1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp ginger
½ tsp salt 1 ½ cups flour
Mix ingredients in the order given (left column first then right), then beat well. Pour in bundt cake pan. Bake in 350 oven for 30 – 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.
Maple Ice Cream
Add ¾ cup maple syrup to 1 cup of hot milk. Pour this slowly over 2 beaten eggs. Cook in double boiler until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Whip one cup of cream, add to above mixture when cool and freeze. Viola! Yummy maple ice cream made from scratch!
If you have a favorite maple recipe you’d like to share, please send it along! And be sure to get out to a local sugar house if not this weekend, sometime this spring to see what this annual tradition is all about.