My parents were in town a couple of weekends ago with our 2008 supply of fresh Maple Syrup from the trees on our property in Western New York. Here’s a slide show of the process of making real maple syrup from the sap dripping from the trees to the bottling process.
The old-fashioned method – sap dripping from the “tap” in the tree into a pail. Now, most of our maple trees are connected via plastic “lines” or tubing that runs from the highest point down the hill creating a web of lines from tree to tree to cut out the need to unhook and empty every bucket by hand.
A better view of the old-fashioned method. (We still hang buckets like this around our house and the sugar shanty.) Sap does not flow from maple trees every day throughout the tapping season. It flows on days when a rapid warming trend in early to midmorning follows a night when the temperature has gone below freezing. Thus, the amount of sap produced varies from day to day. Normally, the average maple tree produces 10-12 gallons of sap each Spring. (That means it takes all Spring and four maple tress to make just one gallon of syrup!)
1. Seckel pears are a tiny version of their full-sized counter parts. They usually have a chubby body, small neck and short stem. The average size is about 2-2.5″ in height. These are most often found in home orchards.
2. Great for snacking or preserving, seckel pears are delightfully sweet with a slightly tough skin.
3. Seckel pears are believed to be the only major variety of pear that actually originated in the United States. They were first found near Philadelphia in the early 1800s.
4. Typically available from August to December, the seckel pear is great for pairing with hearty fall dishes.
5. One of my favorite ways to eat them are roasted with cheese. See the recipe below.
Maple Syrup Roasted Seckel Pears
(makes enough for 4 as an appetizer)
10-12 small seckel pears, sliced in half
1/2 cup butter, unsalted
1/4 cup maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a saucepan, cook butter until slightly browned (giving it a nutty flavor). Add maple syrup and cook until almost caramel-like.
Add pears and toss to coat with syrup mixture.
Bake cut side down on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes or until pears are carmelized.
Sprinkle with sea salt and serve with your favorite cheese.
Filed under Food, Recipes