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Native Americans called March "maple sugar month", and maple syrup harvesting still takes place every year at the first sign of spring thaw (usually sometime in late February). It takes 40 years of growth before a sugar maple can be tapped, and it takes 35 to 40 gallons of sap to make a gallon of syrup. The first sap of the season is the lightest and clearest and thus requires the least boiling.
Density of syrup is measured on the Brix scale, much as the sweetness of wine is. Pure maple syrup contains appreciable amounts of iron and phosphorus, and is considered a good tonic. Maple syrup is rendered from sugar maple sap in structures commonly called sugarhouses.
At the annual Maple Festival in Schoharie County, New York, which celebrates 200 years of local maple-syrup production, visitors can eat jackwax, a chewy confection that results when boiled maple syrup is poured over crushed ice.
Maple syrup can also be transformed into maple cream, maple candies, and into maple sugar (President John F. Kennedy liked it sprinkled on cinnamon toast). Spareribs and ham are natural companions to sauces made with maple syrup; tart apples sprinkled with maple sugar make for a splendid pie.
Maple syrup is sublime when poured over buttermilk pancakes or waffles made of equal parts buckwheat flour, wholewheat flour, and blue corn meal.
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Pure Michigan Maple Syrup in Decorative Plastic Container