December 17th is National Maple Syrup Day, a day to enjoy the sweet and delicious North American topping. Native Americans first harvested maple syrup in the 1600s and European settlers happily adopted the process. During the American Civil War maple syurp and maple sugar were popular among the aboloitionssts, serving as a substitution for cane sugar and malassas which were predominatnly harvested by Southern slaves. Later, during World War II, inhabitants of the northeastern United States used maple syurp and maple sugar as sweeteners to help with the sugar ration. Today, Canada is the biggest producer of maple syrup, generating over 7 million gallons annually. The good news for the maple tree is that tapping it does not cause any permanent damage; only 10 percent of a tree’s sap is collected and an individual tree can be tapped for 150 years or longer! Its wonderful syrup can be used as a topping over foods like pancakes, waffles, and french toast, as well as an ingredient in cooking, or as a sweetener for beverages like beer and hot toddies.
I hadn’t realized until I started researching today’s blog, but most pancake syrups no longer contain actual maple syrup. Instead, they have maple syrup flavoring. I can only assume that this change was somehow necessitated by the cost of harvesting true maple syrup. At least that’s my guess since, when I went on the hunt for maple syrup there was a noticible price difference between it and other pancake syurps. Still, I was happy to grab a bottle off the shelf and try the real thing, especially since this discovery got me wondering if I’ve ever had pure maple syrup before. Perhaps I had it as a teenager during the week my parents and I vacationed in Vermont, but I’ll never know for sure.
I didn’t mention it in yesterday’s post, but Chris and I had another long night last night. We went to a holiday party hosted by one of Chris’s bosses, at his home in Maryland. The party was great but the downside came during our ride home; apparently there was construction on I-495, and we didn’t arrive home until after 1 AM. Perhaps it was Fate knowing that we needed our sleep, but our alarm didn’t work this morning (Chris was trying a new alarm app that, obviously, we won’t try again!) and we ended up sleeping until noon.