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All you need are some buckets, several sugar maple trees, a big pan for boiling the sap. and patience, lots of patience.

It lakes aboul ten gallons of sap to pro duce a single quart of maple syrup, but is there much sense going to all the trouble for less than a gallon? The University of Maine Extension Service offers directions for tap ping trees and collecting and boiling down the sap. Any maple tree will work, but sugar maples work best. Sugar content also varies from tree to tree, or by time of day.

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Anyone lacking the lime or trees to create their ow n maple syrup can do the next best thing: Visit one of more than live do/en sugarhouses on Maine Maple Sunday, the fourth Sunday in March (many are also open that Saturday) to see a demonstration of how maple syrup is made, try syrup sam pies, and enjoy other activ ities. Syrup and other maple goodies will most certainly be available for purchase at the sugarhouses.

The identity of the person who discovered how to make maple syrup is lost to history (most likely it was passed on to European settlers by the Indians), but according to the extension website, in 1663, English chemist Robert Boyle told colleagues in Europe, “There is in some parts of New England a kind of tree whose juice that weeps out its incision, if it is permitted slowly to exhale away the superfluous moisture, doth congeal into a sweet and saccharin substance.”

While there is no better substance known to man lor pouring over pancakes and waffles, maple syrup also makes a won derful topping for ice cream, an ingredient in many delicious sauces such as barbecue sauce, and an alternative sweetener in baked goods and baked beans. Plus, there’s maple candy. You can make your own maple candy by boi I ing dow n sy rup and you don’t even have to make the syrup yourself.

The Fort Knox that’s famous lor gold bul lion, and that’s an active Army base…that’s not our Fort Knox. That one’s in Kentucky.

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