March is maple syrup month in Maine. It is celebrated with out Maple Syrup Sunday, the fourth Sunday in March when many maple houses are open for visitors. There is a map for the locations of the different sugar houses.
Native Americans introduced the colonists to the delights of Maple syrup. Although many different trees can give us sap the two sweetest are the Acer Saccarum, known as the sugar maple, hard or rock maple, and the Acer Nigrum, the black maple.
The Iroquois legend of the first sugar maker was delightful accident. Legend has it an Iroquois husband removed his tomahawk from the tree where he left it the previous night and left to hunt. The day warmed above freezing and his wife found the container under the tree where the tomahawk was removed. Thinking it was water in the container she used the sap to cook a meal. The resulting sweetness delighted the chief and the tradition of sugar making began.
The tapping of trees begins, when the sap begins to flow as the days get above freezing and nights are below freezing. It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of precious maple syrup and a time consuming process.
Maple Syrup is categorized by grades. The lightest amber is from the first flow of the spring and considered the best
Maple syrup is great for many recipes.
Here is Nora’s Maple Syrup Pecan Pie.
One single piecrust
¾ cup maple syrup
2 TBLS melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
1.5 cups coarsely chopped pecans
Beat eggs; mix in melted butter, maple syrup and vanilla. Stir in pecans. Pour into unbaked pie shell.
Bake at 350º for 45-60minutes. Pie is done when center reaches 200º or when center springs back when center is tapped lightly.