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  • W. Blake Kooi

Maple Syrup Season!

It’s maple syrup season. The best time to harvest maple sap is when the temperature outside is above 40F during the day and below freezing at night. This fluctuation in temperature seems to get the sap flowing. Maple sugar, which is a further processing of maple sap, was a common staple of indigenous peoples of the Midwest. Native Americans would cut a v-shape into the tree and collect the sap at the bottom point of the “V.” Then they would cook down the sap to create a nutrient rich source of calories in the form of maple sugar. Why maple sugar and not maple syrup? Well, at that time, maple sugar would have been much easier to store during a time when sealed vessels were not common. This time of the year would have also been optimal for the hunter/gatherer. Maple sap is collected at the end of winter when few nutrient foods are available. Current maple syrup practices filter the syrup, but many of the vitamins and minerals are still able to make it through to the final product. Maple syrup is known to have potassium, calcium, iron, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, zinc, copper, and manganese. While you eat this delicious food you can remember that it is healthier than many of its sugary counterparts.

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