It’s the condiment that changed the way we eat breakfast. It can take a plain old pancake and transform it into something amazing. It is also 100% sustainable and a natural sweetener for a variety of different dishes you can make in the kitchen. Yep, that amazing substance is Pure Minnesota Maple Syrup. While the majority of our syrup may be imported from Canada, there is no reason you can’t start tapping your own. To get an idea of where we get our syrup from, we checked out the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Maple Syrup festival this past weekend.
Making Minnesota Maple Syrup
In late winter, the trees begin to wake up. As water travels up through their roots. The key to tapping the tree, the constant temperature changes. The nighttime freeze allows the moisture from the roots to get sucked into the tree. When the sun rises and warmest the trees and creates a suction that allows the sap to start flowing. Minnesota has four varieties of trees that produce the sweet saps. The Sugar Maple, Red Maple, Silver Maple and the Boxelder.
Once the tree is tapped, a few varieties are used for collection. Individuals will typically attach a bucket or gallon to the tap. But for those looking to collect larger quantities over a bunch of trees, will utilize a tubing system. That is what the MN Landscape Arboretum does. They are able to collect a sizable amount in just one day.
Once the sap is collected, it needs to be reduced down over a heat source. This is done outdoors for the bulk of the syrup over an open flame. Once it reduces down to a couple quarts, it is taken indoors to reduce down even more. It takes 4 gallons of sap, to produces 2 cups. After that, it becomes America’s favorite breakfast condiment.
At the MN Landscape Arboretum
The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum holds an annual tapping event each year. They start off by offering pancake breakfast with all of the syrup they produced from the previous year. After enjoying a nice breakfast they encourage you to find out how it’s made. By following their noses, it will bring guests down to the sugar shack, where the maple syrup is cooking. They have it reducing over an open flame. Inside the building, they have the commercial operation of syrup production as well as an introduction to how it made.
Up the hill, you can take part in tapping your own tree. They show you how to do it safely without damaging the tree. They have samples of fresh syrup water, black walnut maple syrup, and maple syrup sugar. Just as a warning, this is something that you will want to go back for seconds for. The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum has events going year-round to check out, like the Amazing Spaces and Places.
How to Make Your Own
If you have a few trees at home you want to tap, not much is needed…. A spile, a drill, and a collection bucket. Amazon sells starter kits to get you started.
Where to Buy Pure Minnesota Maple Syrup
You can your own fresh MN Pure Syrup all over. At the Landscape Arboretum, a Farmers Markets or by checking out Minnesota Grown for a farmer near you. Also, check out many of the different grocery or natural food stores.
We had so much fun seeing this in action; I’m trying to convince my husband that we need to plant a few maples trees of our own now. For more great ideas on what to do this spring check out my list of 28 Amazing Things To Do in Minnesota This Spring! Happy tapping everyone!
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