Sweet Times are Here – March is Maple Month in New Hampshire
We are saddened when the warm spring temps arrive before winter is over but we know sweet times are ahead. The sap is flowing and the sugar houses are steaming! Maple sap, known in New Hampshire as liquid gold, begins to flow with the arrival of temps that are warm during the day and then drop in the evening. This begins the maple-sugaring season which often lasts for about 6 weeks.
There is nothing like the real deal. Did you know the famous pancake syrups you find on your market shelf are made from high fructose corn syrup, cellulose gum and caramel coloring. No maple at all! The end result may appear similar to Real Maple Syrup but it is no match in flavor.
There are over 60 sugarhouses in New Hampshire that get busy tapping trees and boiling sap eliminating the excess water to reach the thickened syrup we have all grown to know and love. Did you know it takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup? The crystal clear sap has about 2% sugar in its original state which increases to near 70% sugar once the water is eliminated. Technology is beginning to become part of this process. While many still tap the sugar maple and hang a bucket to collect the sap, some of the larger maple producers use sap-gathering pumps and tubes. This new suction-based method targets saplings as opposed to fully grown trees for those with limited acreage.
March is Maple Month in NH. Typically the last weekend in March is known as Maple Weekend filled with events sweetened by the taste of maple. The sugar houses open their doors to the public to watch the production process. Many offer tastings including samples of fresh syrup, maple candies, confections, donuts, and syrup on snow. Some include petting farms and horse-drawn rides. This is an exciting opportunity to experience this centuries-old craft.
Real New Hampshire maple syrup is served at breakfast which is included for all guests at Stonehurst Manor, a romantic boutique hotel in North Conway, NH. But this liquid gold is not only for breakfast. One of their most popular signature pizzas is topped with maple syrup, sausage, smoked cheddar cheese and roasted apples! You may also find that this sweet maple flavor is a natural when combined with balsamic vinegar to dress your favorite salad or added to your favorite glaze for chicken, duck or pork. Maple syrup has also transformed Brussels sprouts into a favorite veggie when lightly during roasting.
The Library Martini Lounge at Stonehurst Manor offers a Salty & Sweet Shake, an adult milkshake, that is made with maple syrup. This shake includes ice cream which technically transforms this drink into a frappe, and not a classic milkshake. Whatever the name, you can be sure it is going to be delicious. Bourbon, maple syrup and pretzel sticks are added to vanilla ice cream in a blender to make this very refreshing, and not too sweet, Salty & Sweet Shake.
After a long winter indoors, March is a sweet time to getaway. Contact the Stonehurst Manor direct at 603-356-3113 for their best lodging offers and include a visit to the 100 Acre Wood Sugar Shack just minutes away.