Storrs, Connecticut (PRWEB) February 25, 2013
On Saturday, March 2 from 10 a.m. to noon, the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at UConn, will be hosting maple sugaring activities. The events will be led by George Bailey of Bailey’s Maple Syrup and Honey. The program fee is $15 for museum members and $20 for non-members, advanced registration is required. Children must be over the age of 10 and accompanied by an adult.
“Maple syrup festivities are fun and educational outdoor events that are always a good time for families and people of all ages,” said Mary Ross of the Mohawk Valley Trading Company where their maple syrup is made primarily from sugar maple sap.
“Maple syrup and sugar have played an important role in our nation’s history.” Ross continued, “After the passage of the 1764 Sugar Act, which imposed high tariffs on imported sugar, maple sugar became even more popular. Before he became president, Thomas Jefferson liked the idea that maple sugar could be produced by citizens of the new nation and sever it’s dependence on sugar grown on plantations in the British Caribbean. And at the end of a visit to Vermont, in a speech he gave in Bennington, Jefferson said, "Attention to our sugar orchards is essentially necessary to secure the independence of our country."
The program will begin in the woods with a tour of tapped trees. Dress for cold weather and be prepared for a moderate to challenging hike. Presentation topics will include how to tap, including the tools used, how environmental conditions and tree health affect sap quality and how trees make sap. The program will then move to the sugarhouse where sap is boiled into syrup. At the end of the program there will be syrup samples to taste.
For registration information visit http://www.cac.uconn.edu/mnhcurrentcalendar.html or call 860 486-4460.
About Maple Syrup
Next to honey, maple syrup is the most popular natural sweetener in North America and its production predates European colonization. Early Native American societies in Canada and the northeastern United States were distilling maple syrup and sugar before those geographic boundaries existed. Maple sugar is made from the controlled crystallization of maple syrup and takes several forms.There is no written record of the first syrup production but several native legends persist. Many tribes celebrated the short maple sap collection season with specific rituals.
The Native Americans collected maple sap from v-shaped notches carved into maple trees. The sap was diverted into birch bark buckets using bark or reeds. It was concentrated by placing hot stones into the buckets or by freezing the sap and removing the ice, which is composed only of water.
When Europeans reached northeastern America they adapted native techniques to make their own maple syrup. The v-shaped notches were replaced with auger-drilled holes. This practice is less damaging to the trees. Bark buckets were replaced with seamless wooden buckets carved from lumber rounds. The method of sap concentration also changed from passive to active. Large amounts of sap were collected and brought to a single area where it was boiled over fires in round cauldrons until reduced to the desired consistency. ‘Sugar shacks’ were built expressly for the purpose of sap boiling. Draft animals were often used to haul fire wood and large containers of sap for sugaring.
In the mid-1800’s syrup production changed again. Round cauldrons were replaced by flat pans in order to increase surface area and therefore allow for faster evaporation. Over the next 60 year several variations on this design were patented. Draft animals were replaced by tractors and heating methods expanded to include propane, oil and natural gas as well as wood.
Hours of operations are 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. EST, seven days a week. Reach them at (315)-519-2640 to learn more.