Maple Sugar: From Sap To Syrup

Title: Maple Sugar: From Sap To Syrup
Subtitle: The History, Lore, and How-To Behind This Sweet Treat
Author: Tim Herd
ISBN: 978-1603427357
Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC (February 26, 2011)
Pages: 144 pages (paperback)
From the Publisher: 

A perfect gift for maple lovers! Savor the surprising history of maple sugaring, learn to identify the various kinds of maple trees, discover how to tap your own trees and make your own syrup, and indulge yourself with tempting recipes for old-fashioned treats like maple nut bread, maple eggnog, baked beans, maple nutmeg butternut squash, maple-glazed salmon, and pecan pie. What could be sweeter?

About the Author:

Tim Herd is the executive director of a parks and open space commission in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains. He was the founder and director of The Roving Nature Center, America’s first fully mobile environmental education center, and has been nationally recognized for his “demonstrated commitment and exceptional contribution to the proper stewardship of America’s national and cultural resources” by the Take Pride in America Campaign. An engaging and dynamic speaker, Herd has made thousands of presentations to audiences of all ages on a wide variety of natural history and motivational topics. He was the nationally syndicated feature writer of Nature Newswatch and is the author of Maple Sugar, Kaleidoscope Sky, and Discover Nature in the Weather.

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My Review:
I am a born and raised New Englander who has been transplanted unwillingly into the south! Growing up, I never really appreciated the vibrant colors of the maple leaves or the amazing flavor of real maple syrup. These things just WERE. Now that I am living in Georgia I miss the fiery fall foliage and I have to stock up on real maple syrup when I visit my family every summer! If you taste the flavor of real maple syrup, you will never go back to the fake stuff again, I promise!
I never really stopped to consider the actual history behind the tapping of a maple tree. This book is an amazing source of information! It begins with the lore…stories of ancient Gods and early people and how the maple tree got it’s sap. Nearly every Native American tribe has a similar story in their history, dating back thousands of years to prewritten history! Tapping the trees was a way of life to the Native Americans but the influx of Europeans helped develop the sugaring practices that are still alive today. The author includes historical time lines, letters from early settlers, and so many interesting tidbits that there is something new to learn on every page! I did not know that maple sugar has 15 times the nutritional value of honey, for example! And I was truly amazed to learn that maple sugar was even involved in political issues! Abolitionists supported maple sugar because it was produced without slave labor or human trafficking (unlike the cane sugar industry!)
For the botanist in you, there is information on all the varieties of maple trees. This includes hand drawn pictures of leaves, bark, branches, flowers, etc to help you identify a maple tree from an oak tree! As the author mentions, it is a waste of time to tap an oak! There is a great ‘do it yourself’ section that makes me want to go up to my neighbor’s maple tree and put in a tap! Too bad I don’t have any of my own! Directions for the ‘home sugarer’ on how to set up your fire pit and what type of pan to use, etc. The final section is a small chapter on recipes. There are recipes for maple nut muffins, maple eggnog, and about 2 dozen more. If I could make one change to this book it would be to add more recipes! Mainly because I have a 1/2 gallon bottle of maple syrup in my fridge from my last trip to Vermont and I want to start using it for something other than pancakes!
All in all, Maple Sugar: From Sap To Syrup is an amazing book! I learned so much about maple syrup that I never even stopped to consider until now. This book is full of pictures, facts, and figures, and is written in an easy to read style that makes you just want to keep reading!

Disclaimer: As per FTC guidelines, I received product samples in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation. All opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone.


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