Growing up in New Hampshire and Vermont the maple trees would be tapped in March. It took a few years of living here in Massachusetts for me to get used to them being tapped in February. Did you know that it takes 40-50 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup? One tree produces 10-20 gallons of sap. My favorite way to eat maple syrup is on snow! Growing up we called them Leather Aprons but most people call it sugar on snow. You heat and stir the maple syrup until it forms a sticky ball on the snow (the snow was collected and packed into a baking type dish), once you’ve got the right consistency you drizzle it on the snow and it hardens to the most delicious chewy, taffy-like candy. I had relatives who ran a farm and a sap camp (they boiled their own sap down to maple syrup) where they would serve donuts and dill pickles (to offset the sweetness) alongside the leather aprons. When you used up most of the heated pot with very little maple syrup left you could turn off the heat and stir the remainder for quite a while to make maple sugar candy. Just one of my very favorite things.
I recently came across this 1998 photo of my friend Susan and I enjoying Leather Aprons. Susan is from Alabama so it was all new to her. She loved it! I’m hoping for at least one more snowstorm so I can collect snow for Leather Aprons.